The Real Reason Your Seasonal Allergies Are So Bad This Year
If your spring is off to an especially sniffly start, you're not alone. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, extreme weather conditions exacerbated by climate change are causing an uptick in seasonal allergies.
"Some research has suggested that the warming trend that we have in our environment is causing the pollen seasons to start a little bit earlier and extend a little bit longer," Dr. Stanley Fineman, former president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, told NBC News. "Consequently, patients are suffering because they're exposed to pollen for longer periods of time."
This year, pollen counts have been highest in the Northwest and Southwest, but allergists across the country have noticed a steady uptick in climate-related visits over the years according to a 2015 AAAAI report. In the report, physicians from Southern California to Houston claimed that weather patterns like the late onset of spring and increased rainfall have caused new cases of allergies and worsened existing ones. This is yet another reminder that climate change is already affecting human health and requires our immediate attention.
If you do suffer from seasonal allergies, the AAAAI recommends staying inside during times when pollen counts are high (you can stay up-to-date on pollen in your area using their tracker) and wearing protective clothing like a hat and sunglasses if you do need to go outside.
Next up: Check out this microbiome expert's comprehensive guide to dealing with seasonal allergies.
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.