Scientists have found that longer allergy seasons are a result of climate change. Researchers from the University of Michigan also determined that rising temperatures lead to more intense allergies.
Because of human-created climate change, they predict that pollen emissions will occur forty days earlier by 2100. Compared to average allergy seasons between 1995 and 2014, seasons today could also last nineteen days longer.
Allergy patients now have to deal with high pollen levels much earlier in the spring due to this shift. A 200% rise in annual pollen emissions is also possible because of greater temperatures brought on by rising CO2 levels.
Climate change is making pollen-induced respiratory allergies worse, according to Yingxiao Zhang, a graduate student research assistant in climate and space sciences and engineering at the University of Michigan. Additionally, she is the paper’s lead author in Nature Communications.
“Our results can serve as a springboard for additional research into the impact of climate change on pollen and related health impacts.”
A predictive algorithm developed by UM researchers examines fifteen of the most common pollen kinds. The model also looks at how fluctuations in temperature and precipitation will affect pollen production.
They then merged information about the seasons and the environment with several socioeconomic situations. They used data from 1995 to 2014 to build the models. Then, they projected pollen emissions throughout the later portion of the twenty-first century using this model.
The severity of allergy symptoms can vary from moderate to severe depending on the individual. Sneezing, watery, itchy eyes, rashes, a runny nose, and cough are typical symptoms. Some people, however, may develop more severe symptoms like anaphylaxis or breathing difficulties.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) estimates that more than fifty million Americans suffer from allergies each year. 24 million of these allergy patients, or half of them, struggle with seasonal allergies. With a yearly cost of nearly $18 billion, allergies rank as the sixth most common chronic condition in the US.
The lengthening and intensification of allergy seasons due to climate change
Tree, grass, and weed pollen are the most typical indoor and outdoor allergy triggers. Allergies can also be triggered by mold spores, dust mites, cat and dog hair, rat urine, and cockroaches. Weed, tree, and grass pollen are worsened by climate change as outdoor allergy triggers.
Plants become active earlier in the season and, on average, generate more pollen when temperatures are higher.
The models developed by Allison Steiner’s team, a UM professor of climate and space sciences and engineering, may provide solutions. In time, they might be able to anticipate allergy seasons across the nation.
To give the public better and more climate-sensitive projections, she said, “We’re trying to integrate our pollen emissions model within a national air quality forecasting system.”
The research was partially funded by the National Science Foundation.
Different research was confirmed.
The results above were supported by a separate study on allergy seasons conducted by the UM School of Public Health. Researchers discovered that hay fever allergies are getting worse and spring seasons are coming sooner as a result of climate change.
Over 300,000 respondents provided information for the study, which was published in PLOS ONE, between 2002 and 2013. It is the first study to examine how allergy seasons are affected by climate change on a national scale.
According to Associate Professor Amir Sapkota of the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, “we discovered that places, where the onset of spring was earlier than usual, had a 14% higher frequency of hay fever.” Surprisingly, he continued, “we also discovered the similar danger in regions where the start of spring was considerably later than what is expected for that geographic location.”
Since the season lasts longer when spring comes early, allergies are worse. But when numerous trees flower at once, late spring can have a comparable impact. This may make allergies worse by raising pollen concentration in a short period.
Every year, 25 million persons in the United States suffer from hay fever, often known as “seasonal allergic rhinitis.” The study’s authors predict that if climate change worsens, this number will only rise.
The Five Best Ways to Reduce Allergy Symptoms
These studies may make you feel hopeless about treating symptoms if you suffer from seasonal allergies. However, despite longer allergy seasons, you can still find relief from itchy eyes and a runny nose. Let’s go over a few ways to combat allergies so you can enjoy life to the fullest.
- Install HEPA filters in your home. These pleated mechanical air filters can capture tiny particles like allergens, viruses, bacteria, mold, and pet dander. When air moves through the pleated mesh overlying the filter, it traps about 99.97% of harmful particles. People with severe allergies should consider these types of filters for their homes.
- When the pollen count is high, stay inside. Avoid going outside if at all possible on days with a lot of pollen. To lessen exposure, close all windows and doors, and turn on the air conditioner.
- Consider probiotics. Since our gut is home to 70–80% of our immune system, eating probiotics can boost the healthy bacteria inside and lessen allergic reactions. According to a University of Florida study, a product called Kyo-Dophilus, a blend of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, can lessen hay fever symptoms. According to the research group, probiotics raise the body’s T-cell population, which improves tolerance to common allergens.
- Keep up a balanced diet. A healthy diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains will reduce inflammation and consequently histamine and cortisol levels. Additionally, an antioxidant-rich diet will strengthen your immune and shield you from sickness.
- Take in a lot of water. Maintaining appropriate hydration helps the body clear mucus and lowers histamine production. To control allergies, drink at least two or three liters of water each day.
Final thoughts regarding the lengthening of allergy seasons due to climate change
Researchers have discovered that longer, more intense allergy seasons are a result of climate change. In many places throughout the world, spring arrives sooner because of higher temperatures. As a result, plants bloom earlier and create more pollen, which millions of people experience as hay fever symptoms. According to a University of Maryland study, the average length of allergy seasons has increased by nineteen days over the previous two decades.