Climate Change Causes Longer Allergy Seasons

Climate change is leading to longer allergy seasons.
New research shows pollen counts will double in the next two decades, which means bad news for allergy sufferers. Researchers believe climate change is to blame.

Allergy sufferer’s brace for tough road ahead

Itchy watery eyes, stuffy nose and overall congestion are just a few symptoms allergy sufferers face. Pollen is a common trigger and because pollen levels are climbing, symptoms are likely to get worse.

“Pollen levels are rising, 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.

“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.

Common allergy triggers

There are many reasons allergies may flare up, but the most common allergy triggers are:

  • Tree, grass, and weed pollen
  • Mold spores
  • Dust mite and cockroach allergens
  • Cat, dog, and rodent dander

Tips to fight allergies

WebMD offers four tips to beat allergies this season. For starters, treat allergies early. The longer a person waits to take an allergy-fighting medication, the worse the symptoms get.

The second tip: be smart about going outside. Consider wearing protective masks and gloves to keep some irritants away.

Follow these tips to battle allergies.

The third tip: consult an allergist. Many allergy sufferers simply take over-the-counter medications, which may not be the best treatment. Other products like neti-pots have become popular to treat allergies, but it’s still important to talk with a trained doctor.

And finally, take care of yourself. By taking a multivitamin, drinking plenty of water and exercising, allergy sufferers can ward off attacks. A healthy body can fight off the symptoms that usually accompany allergy season.

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