Spring has officially sprung! And with it comes the itchy throat, watery and burning eyes, the sneezing, and the ever-present post-nasal drip.
But spring seems a bit early every year.
Does it seem like that to you?
When did you start sneezing?
When did you first start noticing the pollen everywhere?
Researchers think they may know the reason why.
A recent study published in Nature Communications found that pollen allergy season has grown more intense and ramped up in recent years — it could start up to 40 days earlier and last 19 days longer by the year 2100, with the annual pollen count jumping anywhere from 40% to 200% above baseline. The researchers at the University of Michigan developed a predictive model to analyze climate change’s impact on 15 of the most common pollen types. They proposed that rising global temperatures are to blame for the predicted increased intensity of seasonal allergies as trees, weeds, and grasses spring up earlier with more severity.
Seasonal allergies usually start around St. Patrick’s Day, but in recent years, they have started closer to Valentine’s Day. A recent report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicated that much of the US experienced record or near-record warm temperatures in March as the national average rose 2.7 degrees above the 20th-century standard. Previous research has also shown that pollen seasons have grown longer — and more potent — in recent years and are expected to continue on that path.
With temperature and weather changes alone, annual pollen emissions are forecasted to increase by 40%.
“Pollen-induced respiratory allergies are getting worse with climate change,” said the study’s first author, Yingxiao Zhang, a University of Michigan graduate student, and research assistant who studies climate and space sciences in the College of Engineering.
We may not be able to control the average global temperature or when spring starts, but you can do a few things to make allergy season more bearable:
- Stay indoors when pollen counts are high. You can check the pollen count for your area online or on the weather forecast.
- Use an over-the-counter allergy medication. There are many different types of allergy medications available, so talk to your doctor (Or pharmacist!) about which one will work for you.
- Use a nasal rinse. A nasal rinse can help to flush out allergens and mucus from your nasal passages. This can help to relieve congestion and other allergy symptoms.
- Use a humidifier. A humidifier can add moisture to the air, which can help to relieve dry, itchy eyes and skin. They can also help to pull pollen out of the air by weighing it down.
- Change your clothes when you come indoors. If you’ve been outside on a high-pollen day, change your clothes as soon as you come indoors. This will help to remove allergens from your clothing.
- Support your body’s ability to fight! Our All Season Support Package has all of our best products designed specifically to help support your body in its seasonal fight.