Whatever you think about sneezing and wheezing, as allergy season blooms one thing is for sure: It's arriving sooner and lingering longer with more intensity than ever before.
A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that the North American pollen season is up to 20 days longer than it was three decades ago. To make matters worse, the concentration of pollen in the air has increased 21%. Texas and the Midwest states are hardest hit.
Why is this happening? The study cites lab experiments indicating elevated temperatures and carbon dioxide concentrations from climate change have increased pollen production.
It's also related to changes in weather patterns, say researchers from Germany. Wind is now transporting pollen from far-flung places, making allergy season arrive earlier and delivering new types of pollen to tickle your nose.
This pollen-palooza has far-reaching effects. It raises the number of emergency room visits for asthma sufferers and increases susceptibility to viral infections because of respiratory inflammation and a weakened immune response.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology 2021 guidelines for managing allergies advise:
• Use only second-generation antihistamines such as cetirizine (Zyrtec), levocetirizine (Xyzal), fexofenadine (Allegra), loratadine (Claritin), or desloratadine (Clarinex). Think twice, they say, before using Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton.
• Use intranasal corticosteroids (fluticasone, mometasone, budesonide, triamcinolone) for persistent allergy symptoms, including eye irritation.
• Find an allergist in your area by going to acaai.org/locate-an-allergist.