New research suggests allergy season is getting longer and worse | Health

Spring allergy season is here and experts predict it will only get worse.

“Anyone who has allergic reactions to natural things, it will be trees right now,” said Sarah Elder, director of the Remington Nature Center. “…they are budding, it means winter is over and there are going to be beautiful green leaves. But it will also mean sneezing and watery eyes.

Allergy season usually begins in early spring as the warm weather causes plants to bloom and begin to produce pollen. A new study published in the journal Nature Communications predicts by the year 2100, the onset of spring pollen emissions will begin up to 40 days earlier, and fall weed and grass emissions will last up to 40 days. 15 more days.

Elder has been a lifelong allergy sufferer herself, starting with hay fever when she was young. Now she has asthma and takes medication for allergy symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes, coughing and wheezing. She’s not thrilled to hear about a possible longer allergy season.

“It’s like, okay, so we’ll just add another month,” Elder said. “It’s just one more thing.”

Not only will pollen emissions last longer, but more pollen will be produced. Research indicates that the amount of pollen produced per year could double by the year 2100. As global temperature and the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide increase, pollen production will also increase.

The study’s simulations conclude that increasing amounts of pollen and longer pollen seasons will increase the likelihood of seasonal allergies.

Dr Mark Goto is an otolaryngologist – more commonly referred to as an otolaryngologist – at Mosaic Life Care, and said environmental allergies are largely dependent on the weather and what grows well during a given year.

“If things get warmer and stay warmer and it rains a lot, regardless of the weather pattern, we’re going to have a particularly tough allergy season,” Goto said.

According to Elder, in Buchanan County there are more than a dozen species of trees, five weeds and three grasses that trigger seasonal spring allergies. Some common pollen-producing trees include many types of oak and hickory, as well as walnut, willow, and ash.

New research suggests allergy season is getting longer and worse

“Because it’s warming up earlier, the flowers are pollinating, the trees are pollinating right now, and the winds are blowing,” Elder said. “It makes sense that with a longer growing season, you have a longer allergy season.”

Elder is already feeling the effects of the lengthening allergy season. She usually arrives in April before her nose starts twitching, but this year her symptoms started already in March.

Goto said 10-15% of the general population suffer from severe seasonal allergies, many of which are triggered by pollen, mold or dust mites. Typical allergy symptoms include a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, dry itchy eyes, itchy ears, cough and itchy throat, but Goto said they’re individualized for each. person.

“Tune in to your body,” Goto said. “Know what your symptoms are and how you react to certain things.”

He said it’s not a bad idea to take over-the-counter allergy medication to help fight allergies, and he usually recommends a nasal saline solution that clears irritants from the nose. For more severe cases, people can get vaccinated or take drops specific to a certain type of allergen.

Rex Robinson, a pharmacist at Rogers Pharmacy, said antihistamines are easy, over-the-counter medications to treat allergy symptoms. Other products available include nasal sprays and neti pots. He recommends that if someone knows what triggers their allergies, try to avoid that exposure.

“If you know you’re going to have trouble mowing the grass, you ask the kid next door to mow it for you,” Robinson said. “Not everyone can do that, but if you know you’re going to be exposed to it, you try to avoid that exposure, but that’s easier said than done.”

Although he loves the outdoors and runs the Remington Nature Center, Elder is allergic to eleven species of trees and most grasses. She takes over-the-counter allergy medications and prescription allergy drops to help calm her reactions. She hopes other people won’t let allergies stop them from enjoying the outdoors either.

“You can manage them and still be outside, still enjoying the plants, flowers, trees and walking wherever you want…obviously you don’t want to be miserable, but you don’t want to be locked in your house neither,” Elder said.

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