Climate change is going to make allergy season hell on earth
Higher temperatures means up to two more months of pollen, according to new research.
We can all agree that global warming sucks and we haven’t done nearly enough to alleviate it. But for people with seasonal allergies like me, there’s some very unwelcome bad news that climate change brings. According to new research, rising temperatures will likely make allergy seasons longer and way more intense in the near future.
In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers found that pollen season is already starting earlier and could start up to 40 days earlier and end 15 days later by the end of the century, which could add approximately two months to every allergy season. Their analysis also concluded that the levels of pollen during those allergy seasons could be up to 250% higher than they are now, which is all going to lead to way more sneezing, itchy eyes and asthma attacks, according to CNN. While the end of the century seems like a long time from now, keep in mind that the season has already (slowly) begun to extend.
The study looked at current pollen data of several U.S. regions and climate change predictions to come up with their numbers. If you feel like your allergies have gotten more intense from year to year, you’re not tripping — during the past few decades higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and shorter winters has meant more pollen across much of the U.S.
Essentially, the changing climate is fucking up plants’ ability to recognize which season it is and they’re releasing pollen earlier and for longer periods of time. If you’re allergic to more than one type of pollen, that’s extra bad news because different allergens will start to overlap, per CNN. On top of that, some allergy-inducing plants that only grow in warmer climates might start making their way north, increasing the roster of pollen rereleasing plants in your area.
All of this is scary to think about for those of us who despise allergy season, but this knowledge is essential to helping prepare us earlier. We’ll have to start taking our allergy meds as soon as February and if you have asthma, start monitoring symptoms before the official start of spring.