Is Climate Change Causing Our Allergies?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  18 comments   :  12,375 Views

I’m lucky that I’ve never had to deal with seasonal allergies, but I know a lot of people who do.  When springtime hits and there’s a thick layer of pollen on the open windowsills in my house, it’s only a matter of time before some of my family members are affected.  My husband has trouble cutting the grass without fits of sneezing for hours afterward, and my daughter always has a runny nose when she comes in from playing.  This year we experienced a very mild winter in my area and spring seemed to come earlier than usual.  As a result, their symptoms showed up earlier as well.   

Seasonal allergies affect more than 35 million people in the United States.  Common symptoms include sneezing, congestion and itchy watery eyes.  Most people don’t have symptoms serious enough to warrant a visit to their doctor (although asthma attacks can be one of those that do), but they can be enough to interfere with outdoor activities and make life uncomfortable. 

According to recent studies, spring (and therefore pollen) is arriving earlier each year with the rise in global temperatures.  “In a study published last year, Agriculture Department researchers found that at certain latitudes, especially north of 44 degrees, the pollen seasons were up to a month longer than usual. In Wisconsin, for example, ragweed was in the air two weeks longer in 2009 than it was in 1995.”  Another study from Harvard University concluded that these climate changes will cause ragweed pollen to increase significantly as time goes on.  Not surprisingly, the number of allergy sufferers also appears to be increasing each year.  
Most experts agree that more studies are needed to determine the precise link between climate change and allergies, but there is definitely enough initial research to warrant further investigation.  So do your part to save the planet and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and you might just save yourself from some of the discomfort of seasonal allergies in the process.

Although many of the risk factors are out of your control, you can reduce symptoms and possible reactions by making simple changes.  Check out SparkPeople’s Seasonal Allergy Condition Center to find out how. 
What do you think?  Do you suffer from seasonal allergies?  If so, how do you deal with them?

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  • 18
    Allergies - 1/11/2018   2:52:43 AM
  • 17
    I do not agree on global warming. - 12/20/2017   8:53:09 PM
  • 16
    I SUFFER from now until December and will be taking my allergy pills, using nose spray, and my inhaler when it gets real bad - 4/7/2014   9:46:01 PM
  • 15
    Maybe time to update this blog as it is over 2 years old and....

    Actually, global temperatures have been holding steady for more than a decade. 1998 is still the high point in global temperatures during the recent era. While 2005 and 2010 were both declared “hottest” years by global warming proponents, a closer examination revealed that the claims were “based on year-to-year temperature data that differs by only a few HUNDREDTHS of a degree Fahrenheit.” In other words, global temperatures have held very steady with no sign of “acceleration.”

    In September 2012, even UN IPCC scientist Phil Jones presented data that revealed there has been no global temperature change for the last 16 years!
    - 4/7/2014   5:37:23 PM
  • SIOL55
    I also feel my allergies get a little worse each year. I'm hoping they won't be so bad this year since we've had an extremely cold winter. - 4/7/2014   2:15:14 PM
  • 13
    My allergies seem to get worse every year, not just in the spring from pollens, but also in the fall and winter from dry weeds (blown by high winds) and molds (made worse by rain). - 5/10/2012   3:39:13 PM
  • 12
    I take allergy pills almost all year long, plus a nasal spray when the going gets tough. But my number one go to thing is a neti pot. Much cheaper than buying saline sprays and more effective. - 5/9/2012   8:19:29 PM
    We had an early spring here also and pollen was everywhere. Then it cooled off a bit and when it warmed up again the pollen reemerged with a vengeance! We, as a species, spend more time indoors than ever before. I wonder if that has something to do with it. I hear that if you eat the honey from local bees, it helps with allergies. - 5/9/2012   8:11:58 AM
  • 10
    I have noticed that every year I seem to react to more and more of the seaonal irritants. This year has been particularly bad with a stuffy nose and sinus pressure and headache almost all the time. I treat the symptoms, and blow my nose a lot!! - 5/9/2012   6:05:59 AM
  • 9
    No, I grew up on a farm where I was around lots of animals and manure & dirt, so I have no allergies. - 5/8/2012   5:13:21 PM
  • 8
    Interesting! I noticed that my allergies seemed to be a bit worse and lasting longer than usual! - 5/8/2012   3:35:14 PM
  • 7
    Everyone in my family has seasonal allergies, miserably so, and yes, they were earlier and are worse this year. The drugs that actually work on me just knock me out. I could get shots, but can't afford them. So I just keep a lot of tissues handy. - 5/8/2012   2:17:18 PM
  • 6
    I don't know if it's all climate change but allergies are a lot worse in our family. I think some has to do with man-made polution, etc. I apparently had allergies growing up but never realized that's what it was. I didn't notice anything until we moved to another part of the country but they do get worse every year in all of us.
    - 5/8/2012   2:17:16 PM
  • 5
    We don't have many allergies in our family which is something I'm grateful for, but I have to wonder how much the climate has to do with it when the statistics show that under-developed countries have fewer allergies than we do. Surely, diet and environmental toxins are more a factor in the development of allergies? - 5/8/2012   2:01:12 PM
  • 4
    Both my son and I suffer from seasonal allergies...he worse than me. We both take over-the-counter allergy/sinus medicine. He tends to get some relief when he takes the medicine regularly, but I'm usually touch and go...and I have a hard time finding one that relieves all of my symptoms. Maybe it's time I look into a prescription. - 5/8/2012   1:58:17 PM
  • 3
    This is the first spring where I've continually had a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes. When I was in school, I would always get sick during finals, but that was generally just for that last week of school. This spring - which did come way earlier than usual - I've felt like this for at least a month. I'm generally against taking pills unless I'm really suffering, so I try to only take allergy pills when I'm going out for the day and don't want to be inconvenienced by allergies. They really are nice, though. - 5/8/2012   12:42:48 PM
  • 2
    I do suffer from seasonal allergies, but I don't usually take allergy meds (although if I'm really stuffy or itchy, I might take something for it).

    However, my asthma is triggered by almost anything - allergies, cold, activity - so I use a steroid inhaler on top of my as-needed inhaler... - 5/8/2012   12:36:52 PM
  • 1
    I have to take allergy meds year-round (I take a combination of two prescription medications), so I haven't noticed that my symptoms are any worse this year than in previous springs. Not yet, anyway, and we did have a mild winter and very early spring here, too. - 5/8/2012   11:31:59 AM

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