Are your itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing getting worse or lasting longer with each passing year? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. According to a recent study, pollen concentrations are increasing, and so is the length of pollen season. We review this study below.
About the Study
Researchers from across the nation worked together to publish their study, “Anthropogenic climate change is worsening North American pollen seasons” in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) in February of 2021.
For the study, the researchers collected data from 60 North American stations from 1990 to 2018, amounting to 821 site-years of data. They also used earth system model simulations to quantify the human impact on the climate’s changes.
The researchers found that, over the past three decades:
- Pollen concentrations, or the amount of pollen in the air, has increased by 21%.
- Pollen seasons have increased an average of 20 days.
What This Means for You
The authors hypothesize that people with allergies and asthma triggered by pollen have been and will continue to be highly impacted by these changes to pollen season driven by climate change.
The authors note that there has been a significant increase in allergen sensitivity across all age groups in the U.S. Furthermore, more pollen sensitization during childhood equates to an increased number of adolescents and adults with allergic asthma later on.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 19.2 million adults and 5.2 million children have been diagnosed with hay fever over the past 12 months in the U.S.
Finding Relief from Pollen Allergies
There are many strategies for preventing and treating allergy symptoms. An allergist can help you determine which option(s) work best for your needs.
You can practice avoidance of pollen by:
- Checking weather reports to see when pollen counts are high.
- Staying indoors with the windows closed when pollen counts are high.
- Not drying clothes or bedding outside.
- Showing and changing clothes after spending time outdoors.
- Wearing sunglasses at At any Newberry park to protect your eyes.
- Hiring a landscaper or delegating outside chores to someone without allergies.
Allergy medications that can be found over the counter include:
- Steroid nasal sprays.
Be sure to talk to your allergist about how to take these medications safely.
Immunotherapy is a long-term solution for managing allergies. It is available in two forms:
- Allergy shots (subcutaneous immunotherapy) are administered in an allergist’s office.
- Allergy drops (sublingual immunotherapy) are administered at home.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call Carolina Pines ENT today.