Allergy season came early this year and will last even longer – here’s why
Allergy season started earlier than usual this year.
Now experts are warning that this could become the new normal as pollen activity has risen in recent years thanks to climate change.
A study published in Nature Communications found that pollen allergy season could start 40 days earlier and last 19 days longer by 2100, with annual pollen counts jumping anywhere from 40-200% from baseline.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a predictive model to analyze the impact of climate change on 15 of the most common types of pollen.
They explained that rising global temperatures are responsible for the expected increase in seasonal allergies as trees, weeds and grasses wake up earlier and more vigorously in the spring.
Annual pollen emissions are projected to increase by 40% due to changes in temperature and weather alone, but could increase by up to 250% if carbon dioxide and other emissions from coal, gasoline and natural gas combustion continue to increase at their current rate. .
“Pollen-induced respiratory allergies are getting worse with climate change,” said study first author Yingxiao Zhang, a University of Michigan graduate student and climate and space science research fellow at the College of Engineering.
In a statement to the school’s website, Zhang added, “Our findings could be a starting point for further research into the effects of climate change on pollen and related health effects.”
Previous research has also shown that pollen seasons have become longer and stronger in recent years, and this path is expected to continue.
Historically, pollen season in the US has started around St. Patrick’s Day. According to allergists, the date has moved to Valentine’s Day.
A recent report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes that much of the country experienced record or near-record temperatures last month as average temperatures rose 2.7 degrees above 20th-century standard.
Take New York City, for example, which had a noticeably warm winter this year. The Big Apple didn’t get its first snow of the season until February, when Central Park covered just under half an inch. According to Fox Weather meteorologist Matthew Blue, the squalls marked the last “measurable” snowfall New York City has experienced since 1869, when the city began keeping weather records.
Warmer winters and an earlier spring will be difficult for 30% of adults and 40% of children with allergies in the US, and especially difficult for the 25 million Americans with asthma, according to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America.
Environmental allergy symptoms range from watery eyes and sneezing to difficulty breathing and, in extreme cases, full-blown anaphylaxis.
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