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Your Healthy Family: Report says weather trends are making allergy season worse

Posted at 8:43 AM, Mar 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-17 08:43:54-04

About a quarter of adults, and one in five kids in our country deal with seasonal allergies. And new data shows warmer weather and climate change may be leading to a longer pollen season, making allergies even worse.

Data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found temperatures across the country were unusually warm last month.

"The way a warmer winter can impact seasonal allergies really comes down to, you know, will that give a chance for these trees to start blooming a little bit earlier, and that may start to bring out the pollination process a little sooner," Dr. Jay Jin, an Allergist and Immunologist with Indiana University School of Medicine, said.

A new report from Climate Central shows weather and climate trends are making allergy season even worse.

"The pollen is going to be in the air even longer and it's happening earlier as well," Meteorologist Jennifer Gray, who studied the report, said.

The data shows an earlier spring and longer periods of freeze-free days for parts of the U.S. means plants have more time to flower and release allergy-inducing pollen.

"What happens in a warmer world, you have a longer growing season," she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people with respiratory illnesses, like asthma, may be more sensitive to pollen. Exposure has been linked to asthma attacks and more people being admitted to the hospital for respiratory problems. To reduce your exposure when pollen counts are high, start taking allergy medicine early, close your doors and windows, and avoid outdoor activity in the early morning, when pollen counts are highest. Make sure to remove clothes you've worn outside, and shower to get the pollen off of your skin and hair. Cleaning your floors more often with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter can also help.