If it seems like your allergies are becoming worse with each passing year, you’re not imagining it. One study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) in 2021uncovered that, over the past three decades, allergy seasons have grown longer and more severe. We review this study and how to find relief from your symptoms below.
About the Study
For the study, entitled “Anthropogenic climate change is worsening North American pollen seasons,” researchers across the country worked together to examine data collected from 60 North American stations from 1990 to 2018. In total, this amounted to 821 site-years of data.
What they found was that pollen seasons have increased an average of 20 days and pollen concentrations, or the amount of pollen in the air at one time, has increased by 21%.
The authors note that these changes to pollen season driven by climate change mean people with allergies and asthma triggered by pollen will suffer from worse symptoms for a longer duration.
In addition, more people seem to be suffering from allergies. According to the 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.
Tips for Managing Allergies
An allergist can conduct an allergy test to determine exactly what you’re allergic to and then help you come up with a treatment plan, which may include practicing avoidance, taking medications and/or undergoing immunotherapy.
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 Elm 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.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call ENT Associates of Worcester today.