If you feel like your allergies have been getting worse and worse each year, it’s not just in your head. Many people across the nation have been reporting more severe allergy symptoms, and experts believe this is thanks to climate change.
How Common Is Hay Fever?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in the past 12 months, 19.2 million adults and 5.2 million children were diagnosed with hay fever. And thanks to longer and more severe allergy seasons, this number is only expected to go up.
While most people associate seasonal allergies with minor symptoms like a scratchy throat or watery eyes, the consequences can be drastic. Hay fever exacerbates asthma, weakens defenses against respiratory viruses and results in more emergency room visits. These issues are especially troublesome in the age of COVID-19.
How Does Climate Change Affect Allergy Season?
A study published last month revealed that climate change has caused pollen seasons to become longer and more intense across the United States and Canada. These results come from nearly three decades of data, collected from 1990 to 2018 from 60 monitoring stations across the continent.
Results show that pollen seasons are starting up to 20 days earlier and lasting up to eight days longer. There has also been a rise in the concentration of pollen, up 20.9% between 1990 and 2018.
According to study authors, “While the pollen-respiratory health linkages are complex, our results highlight that longer pollen seasons and higher pollen concentrations are being driven in part by human-driven temperature increases and are increasing the risks of respiratory health problems in real time.”
Who Is Most Affected?
The study showed that the largest and most consistent increases were in Texas and the Midwest. The reason is not entirely clear to researchers, but they hypothesize that it may be because the plant species there are especially sensitive to warmer temperatures, causing them to produce more pollen.
How to Relieve Your Allergy Symptoms
Many people can manage their allergy symptoms by taking over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants. However, some require a more long-term solution like allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy. To learn more about options for treating your allergies so you can enjoy time at Stone Mountain Park without suffering, call the experts at ENT of Georgia to schedule an appointment today.