It seems that every year my allergies are worse than the year before. I thought it was just my imagination playing tricks on me, but recent studies have shown that it’s not just in my head…so to speak. Thanks to global warming, the allergy season actually is getting longer every year. With a longer growing season for plants, they have more time to produce pollen… so not only are we exposed to the pollen for a longer period of time, but we are also exposed to ever increasing levels of pollen.
Battling Allergy Symptoms
Allergies can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from itchy-red eyes and sneezing to full blown respiratory attacks, along with hives or sores on the skin. It becomes impossible to avoid the pollen, especially if you work outdoors, which results in daily allergy attacks that cause breathing difficulties and itchy skin.
Sometimes antihistamines can help battle the allergy symptoms, but for most people the drowsiness from these medications is too much to function at work.
There are a variety of over-the-counter medications that boast having no drowsiness associated with their product. This may be true, but my personal experience along with those of friends and family have found that after a few weeks, these product has little to no efficacy any more toward warding off the allergy symptoms.
What Is Causing So Much Pollen?
“Pollen levels are increasing, pollen seasons are getting longer, and more people are developing allergies,” says Estelle Levetin, Ph.D., chairwoman of the aerobiology committee for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
It is reported that the allergy season in 2011 will last nearly 27 days longer than average in the northern parts of North America. The spring season for everyone now starts much sooner in the year, and the fall allergy season sticks around longer.
“We’re using more and more carbon-based fuels, generating greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) that trap heat from the sun in our atmosphere. This makes temperatures rise, prompting plants and trees to flower—and release pollen—earlier each spring; in the fall, they delay the death of ragweed plants from frost, extending the pollen season,” Levetin explains.
Higher amounts of Carbon Dioxide not only boost the pollen production, but it also increases how potent the pollen is in terms of causing an allergic reaction. The increasing temperatures and humidity also boost the growth of mold, another extreme allergen for many people.
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