Climate Change and Allergy Seasons
Doesn’t it seem like you just keep hearing how bad allergy season is? Or was? Or will be? It’s not just the media jumping on a much-reported trend; it’s because there’s been a lot to report about climate change and what it means for allergy sufferers.
Whether it’s an increase in precipitation that leads to longer growing seasons or a drought that means a continuous, unrelenting amount of allergens in the air, climate change is the culprit behind the unpredictability of how severe allergy seasons now seem to be. For at least two years in a row now, experts have called it “the worst allergy season ever.”
Typically, trees pollinate in the late winter and spring, while grasses release their pollen during the late spring and through summer. But lately it’s been a mess. This Spring, a long winter meant that when warmer weather finally hit, all the trees had to pollinate ASAP. It was a torturous couple weeks there for allergy sufferers. Just last year though, a warm winter meant trees were pollinating as early as the beginning of February.
Top it all off with an increase in carbon dioxide, which is what plants and flowers live off of. This feeding frenzy means—what else?—tons more pollen. In fact, pollen season has increased by more than two weeks in the past 20 years.
“The link between rising CO2 and pollen is pretty clear,” Lewis Ziska, a weed ecologist and top field researcher told USA Today. His lab tests have shows pollen production rising with carbon dioxide. Plants that were producing 5 grams of pollen in 1900 are now producing 10 grams and Ziska expects them to double to 20 grams by 2075 if carbon emissions continue to climb.
Up to 30 percent of people in North America experience nasal symptoms and another 60 percent experience eye symptoms. As you weigh your options for managing your allergy symptoms, consider AllergEase, which has been clinically proven help with nasal congestion and also contains eyebright, an herb that naturally helps relieve itchy eyes.