Climate Change and Seasonal Allergies: How Do Rising Temperatures Affect Allergy Seasons?
Once the winter goes away, and the weather becomes warmer, millions of people all over the world start their preparations for another allergy season. You may have noticed that seasonal allergies tend to get worse every year. If so, experts have a scientific explanation to that. The reason for worsening seasons is climate change.
How Does Climate Change Affect Seasonal Allergies?
Temperatures around the world are getting higher and carbon dioxide levels are increasing. Researchers have been looking at the potential impact of these changes on the situation with pollen – the most common trigger when it comes to seasonal allergies.
Thus, experts from Allergy Asthma & Immunology Center of Alaska say that higher levels of carbon dioxide have shown to increase the levels of protein in allergy-inducing pollen. Each pollen grain contains a number of allergenic peptides – certain proteins that trigger your allergy symptoms. As the carbon dioxide levels are rising, the number of allergenic proteins in each pollen particle increases, too.
Recent studies have found that increasing carbon dioxide levels are responsible for an increase in biomass and pollen production by plants.
Allergy seasons throughout the year also tend to last longer nowadays. According to experts, the allergy season today is up to 27 days longer than it was about 7-10 years ago, which increases the risk for exposure to seasonal allergens.
Besides, global warming is associated with flooding and severe storms that tend to leave mold behind, which may cause even more allergies.
Although allergy-related effects of climate change are not as significant as other global issues caused by rising temperatures, they still pose a real threat to public health. Statistics shows at least 25 percent of total population are affected by some type of allergy.
What Causes Spring Allergies, and What Are the Symptoms?
Most people with spring allergies are allergic to pollen and flowers. According to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, five cities in the United States are considered to be the most challenging places to live for people with spring allergies. These cities are McAllen (Texas), Louisville (Kentucky), Jackson (Mississippi), Memphis (Tennessee), and San Antonio (Texas).
The most common symptoms experienced by people with spring and other seasonal allergies include sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, and red, watery eyes.
How to Control Your Seasonal Allergy?
The best way to control seasonal allergies is to minimize your exposure to pollen and other triggers. To do so, you will have to apply a few modifications to your daily life.
First, experts suggest that you always wear a hat and sunglasses, whenever you go outside. When you are indoors, close your windows and use air conditioning system with air filtration. Remember to change air filters regularly.
When you return home after carrying out some activities outdoors, take off your shoes before you enter the house. You may also want to change and wash your clothes and take a shower to remove any pollen traces. Don’t dry your clothes outside, use a dryer instead.
To get rid of the pollen you have inhaled into your nasal passages, you can rinse the inside of your nose using a saline water solution available in pharmacy.