Allergies are among the most common health issues that people experience. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 50 million people experience allergies every year. Also, allergies impact an estimated 30% of adults and 40% of children in the United States. As the months are warming up and pollen count becomes higher, you may be feeling the effects of allergies now. If you feel like your allergies are more intense, you may not be wrong. Recent studies show that rising temperatures due to climate change can affect allergies. The exposure to higher pollen concentrations due to rising temperatures can worsen your allergies which is why practicing ways to effectively alleviate and manage your allergies is so essential.
Link Between Rising Temperatures & Allergies
Scientists have previously made a connection between rising temperatures and heightened allergies. Studies have established that there is a correlation between these two phenomenons. A significant study that reveals this link was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2021. Researchers collected and evaluated long-term pollen data across 60 North American stations from 1990-2018. Key findings include:
- Pollen concentrations have increased by over 21% in North America
- Pollen seasons have become longer, 20 days longer than in 1990.
This highlights that the presence of pollen in the environment has not only significantly increased but also that it’s in the air for a longer period of time. Researchers also assessed what role climate change plays in this increased concentration levels of pollen. They found that it actually plays a central role.
Impact of Climate Change on Allergies
Researchers used various climate models to assess the link between climate change and increased pollen counts. They found that it can actually impact pollen levels and allergies in several ways. Pollen concentrations are often informed by temperature so climate change and rising temperatures can easily lead to more pollen in the environment. In addition to elevated temperatures, higher concentrations of CO2 also increase pollen production. This coupled with air pollution can worsen allergies while also prolonging allergy season.
When air pollution particles latch onto grains of pollen, the pollen can combust into tiny particles that easily get into the respiratory tract. Also, CO2 can contribute to plants blooming more which produces more pollen. The combination of these factors can easily result in more severe symptoms and allergies. Taking the steps to manage as best as you can is an important way to support your health and wellness.
Tips to Effectively Manage Allergies
There are several useful measures you can take to alleviate your allergies. A few tips include:
- Have allergies tested. It can be helpful to see a specialist and be tested for allergies. Identifying your allergies can help you find the most effective treatment options. This will also allow a specialist to provide you with medications, therapies, strategies, and other resources that can help treat your allergies optimally.
- Minimize exposure to pollen. There are several ways you can do this including:
- Track pollen count: check-in with your local weather resources to know what and when pollen count is high. Avoid being outdoors when levels are high.
- Clean regularly: Pollen can accumulate indoors so cleaning regularly helps deal with this. Pay particular attention to the areas where pollen tends to gather – air filters, carpets, furniture, bedding etc.
- Change clothes: pollen can stick to clothing so you want to change your clothes once you re enter your home. Also taking a shower helps wash away the pollen that may have gotten into your hair, on your face etc.
- Find the right medications for you. There are numerous types of over the counter medications people use to treat their allergy symptoms. People often combine antihistamines and decongestants which alleviate common allergy symptoms. You can also use natural solutions like steaming, a neti pot, dehumidifier etc. Be sure to explore your options so that you know what works best with your symptoms. It is also useful to start taking medications ahead of experiencing symptoms.
These measures can better help you manage your allergies which is especially important with increased pollen levels becoming more common. Contact us to learn more about allergies and ways you can effectively manage your symptoms.