Can You Develop Seasonal Allergies As An Adult
You can develop seasonal allergies at any time in your life, including adulthood. You can even become allergic to something youve never been allergic to before.
Its not always clear why some adults develop new allergies. Some reasons for adult-onset seasonal allergies could be:
- Reduced immune function. If youre sick, pregnant, or immunocompromised, you might be more susceptible to allergens.
- Moving to a new area of the country. You might be around trees or other plants you havent encountered before.
- Having greater exposure to allergens. A small amount of pollen may not bother you. But concentrated exposure could trigger an allergic reaction.
Doctor Reveals Why Allergy Season Will Be Particularly Brutal This Year
Spring is here at last! How can we know for sure? Well, there are all the usual sights: robins bobbin’, bunnies multiplying as they are wont to do, and people out and about wearing only as much clothing as is mandated by law. Not just sights, but sounds of spring abound as well: The air is filled with birds singing, lawnmowers mowing, baseball announcers announcing, and allergy sufferers sneezing and wheezing.
Ugh, those springtime allergies. So unfair to be in this much misery when everything is sunny, bright, and beautiful. Well, to wax all philosophical about it, without pain, there can be no pleasure – the pleasure, in this case, being that of taking a really good antihistamine that makes those allergy symptoms go away for a few hours. Here’s hoping you’ve laid in a good supply of your preferred allergy medicine, though, since Dr. Shirin Peters, an internist with New York City’s Bethany Medical Clinic, tells The List in an exclusive interview that this year’s allergy season is going to be a bad one.
Is There More Pollen In The Air Than Before
Yes. As the earth warms as a result of climate change, pollen season is lasting longer and there is generally more of it in the air, all of which is bad news for hay fever sufferers.
Scientists warn that this season is only going to get worse if the climate crisis continues in its current trajectory. Modelling in a study spanning north west Europe suggests that climate change will increase the severity of hay fever season by up to 60 per cent.
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This Has Been A Really Bad Pollen Year For A Lot Of People
Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff
If your allergies have been more than just a little sneezing this season, youre not alone.
Local allergists say that patients are reporting heavier seasonal allergy symptoms this year. One possible reason people are noticing an increase? Less people are wearing masks outside compared to last season.
Certainly this has been a really bad pollen year for a lot of people, Dr. Rebecca Saff, director of Mass General Hospital Allergy and Immunology Fellowship, told Boston.com. Whats different from last year is that the masks did help reduce the instances of people inhaling pollen. Now, people are out without masks and were all getting together outside, and maybe thats contributing to everyone having worse symptoms right now.
The overall reason is no secret: climate change. Reports of seasonal allergies and increasing severity have been mounting for years, and Saff says global warming is an indisputable cause.
The increased CO2 in the atmosphere seems to increase the amount of pollen thats released, so you get these higher peaks, and then it also seems to be making the growing season longer for these plants and so then you get longer pollen seasons, she said.
This problem has been known for a while: In 2010, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America released a report sharing how climate change will affect pollen, mold, and poison ivy, which will in turn increase air pollution and the risks for asthma and allergies.
Blame Climate Change For This Summers Bad Allergy Season
Allergic man blowing on wipe in a park on spring season a sunny day
If you’ve felt like your seasonal allergies are worse this year, you’re not alone. Higher temperatures are linked with longer tree and grass pollen seasons.
According to a recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports, temperature increases in northern California are worsening pollen-related allergies, while precipitation changes are associated with more mold spores in the air.
“Climate change is really a problem for health, and we are living and breathing the effects of climate change now,” said the study’s senior author, Kari Nadeau,; professor of medicine and of pediatrics at Stanford School of Medicine.
Nadeau, according to a news release, became interested in the subject because she noticed that patients said their seasonal allergies were getting worse.
“As an allergist, it is my duty to follow the pollen counts, and I was noticing that the start date of the tree pollen season was earlier every year,” Nadeau said. “My patients were complaining, and I would say, ‘This is such a tough year,’ but then I thought, wait, I’m saying that every year.”
While the study is local to northern California, the trend tracks across the United States.
Last year, masks coincidentally provided some relief for allergy sufferers. Pollen grains range in size from 200 microns to 10 microns, and masks were able to block some of them out when people stepped outside.
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Are Allergies In Kids Different Than In Adults
It can be especially difficult to control allergies in kids, Dr. Leeds says, adding that kids tend to spend more time outdoors and, thus, are exposed to more pollen. A high pollen count day is not going to deter them from going to the playground, says Dr. Leeds. Thats unlike an adult who might say, ‘Im going to drive my car to work, keep the windows rolled up, and not take that walk during lunch.’
Another difference is that allergies in adults are usually well-established, while in kids there is the hope that they will outgrow them, Dr. Leeds says.
With kids, we talk about the concept of atopy, which is an allergic predisposition, she says. For a child with a strong family history of any allergiesand especially for those who develop symptoms early in lifedoctors look out for the four main allergic diseases: eczema, food allergies, nasal allergies, and asthma. These allergic diseases, in general, are increasing in prevalence, she says.;
Allergy Season : Why Your Allergies Are Worse This Year
Each spring, trees and other plants begin releasing pollen into the air. While spring allergies are fairly common, some years are much worse than others. So far, allergy season 2021 has been one of the worst in recent memory. Heres what you should know about why spring allergies have been so bad this year and what you can do to keep your allergies under control.
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Invest In An Air Purifier
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If you already have a hard time with seasonal allergies, you don’t want to also be dealing with indoor allergens. Research has shown that air purifiers with HEPA filters can help remove indoor allergens like mold spores and animal dander in addition to pollen. Dr. Parikh stresses that pollen is very small. Your air purifier likely won’t remove all of the pollen in the air, but it can help. The best thing you can do is source an air purifier with a HEPA filter, she says. Pictured above is the highly effective Dyson Pure Cool Purifying Fan, which is currently on sale for $450.
Pollen Is Becoming Impossible To Avoid
Allergies occur when the bodys internal radar system locks onto the wrong target, causing the immune system to overreact to an otherwise harmless substance.
This can cause mild annoyances like hives or itchy eyes, or life-threatening issues like anaphylaxis, where blood pressure plummets and airways start swelling shut.
About 8 percent of US adults suffer from hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, brought on by pollen allergies.Most cases can be treated with antihistamines, but they cost the US between $3.4 billion and $11.2 billion each year just in direct medical expenses, with a substantially higher toll from lost productivity. Complications like pollen-induced asthma attacks have also proven fatal in some instances and lead to more than 20,000 emergency room visits each year in the US.
Pollen is a fine powder produced as part of the sexualreproductive cycle of many varieties of plants, including elm trees, ryegrass, and ragweed.
Its released in response to environmental signals like temperature, precipitation, and sunlight. Grains of pollen range in size from 9 microns to 200 microns, so some types of pollen can travel deep into the lungs and cause irritation, even for people who dont have allergies. High concentrations of pollen in the air trigger allergic reactions and can spread for miles, even indoors if structures are not sealed.
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Bad Allergies Right Now Ragweed Is Likely To Blame
ARKANSAS, USA Most of us likely associate bad allergies and pollen with Spring. Makes sense given that Spring is the time of year when trees bloom and the grass starts to grow. While pollen levels are often high in the spring, they also tend to run high in the beginning of Fall from a completely different culprit.
Ragweed! It’s estimated that around 15 to 25 percent of Americans suffer from ragweed allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. And we are in peak season right now!
WHAT IS RAGWEED?
Ragweed is in fact a weed that grows in 49 of the 50 U.S. states , but is most common in central and eastern portions of the country. There are 17 different types of ragweed plants across the United States. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, says that each ragweed plant can release 1 billion pollen grains! Ragweed pollen is also very light so it can travel hundreds of miles from its original source. ;
HOW CAN I MINIMIZE ITS IMPACTS?
Here are some things you should know:
- 75 percent of people who are allergic to pollen are allergic to ragweed
- There is no cure for ragweed allergies
- Ragweed pollen is highest during the morning hours
- If you are allergic to ragweed other foods can irritate your mouth due to a similar type of protein
What you can do:
- Plan your time outside when the ragweed counts are lower
- Keep your windows closed in your home and car
- Don’t dry laundry outside
HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?;
An Early Spring Means High Pollen Counts
After a long, long year we were all thrilled to see spring come early. Unfortunately, humans weren’t the only ones rejoicing in the rapid return of warmer weather. Pollen celebrating getting an early start on its season by going forth and multiplying even faster than the aforementioned rabbits, and Peters warns that this means allergy season “will last longer as pollen will continue to be produced until summer hits at a normal time.”
Not only are pollen counts right now much higher than they would be were temps still down in the normal early spring range , but more people are outdoors breathing them in. There’s a natural tendency to want to be outside once winter comes to an end, as well as the fact that under current circumstances, as Peters points out, we’ve all been feeling cooped-up by pandemic precautions.
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How To Alleviate Your Allergy Symptoms
Leeds recommended wearing a brimmed hat and sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes and nose. A solid rinse can also work wonders after spending time outside.
Wash your hands and face after being outdoors for long periods of time, and consider changing your clothes, she said.
If you are particularly sensitive, limit your time outdoors on poor air-quality days. Consider washing your eyes and nose with a saline solution. You might also want to swap out your contact lenses for eyeglasses, as pollen can cling onto lenses and irritate the eye. Cleaning your lenses more frequently and opting for daily disposable contacts can also help relieve itchy, watery eyes.
Pollen can get trapped inside your home, so keep your windows shut and car doors closed. Vacuum often to get rid of allergens trapped in your carpet. If you have AC, set it to nonrecirculated air.
AAFA also recommends using a HEPA air filter to purify the air in your house. And pets can be pollen magnets, so giving them a good rub down is a good idea after a springtime walk, Gupta said.
You might also want to hold onto your face mask a bit longer. The masks we use to protect ourselves against the coronavirus act as a barrier against pollen, too. The better the mask, the better the protection.
N95 masks are ideal for this, but standard masks most people are using to protect one another from COVID-19 also work, Mendez said.
You Can Thank Your Old Pal Climate Change
Itchy, watery eyes. A runny nose. Pounding headaches. These and other frustrating ailments that come along with seasonal allergies are at an all-time high this year. If your sinuses havent alerted you, then maybe the internet has. Nearly every day since April, you can find a plethora of memes and gags about how allergies this year are wreaking havoc on peoples day-to-days, fighting for their lives, even, now more than ever.
Theres a reason it seems like allergies are terrorizing us at a much higher rate than in previous years: its because they are. But why? Well, we can thank our old pal climate change.;
Climate change and global warming have caused longer allergy seasons, and the increase in carbon dioxide levels from rising greenhouse gases causes more potent pollinating or super pollinator plants since plants feed off of CO2, Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network, tells InsideHook.;
As explained by Vox, higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are causing the planet to heat up. There are warmer winters and earlier springs, which gives plants the opportunity to start pollen production sooner, which then leads to more pollen. Plus, as the concentration of carbon dioxide increases, it causes plants to grow bigger. Bigger plants produce larger amounts of pollen and spread more seeds, which, as Vox notes, produces more pollen-spewing plants in the next season.
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Allergies Are Going To Get Way Way Worse
Researchers estimate that pollen counts of all varieties will double by 2040 in some parts of the country, depending on what pathway the world takes on greenhouse gas emissions. Heres how scientists project allergy risks from tree pollen will change in the eastern United States under a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario:
Heres the trajectory for ragweed:
And heres what to expect for grass pollen:
This means that regardless of your pollen of choice, the future holds more misery for allergy sufferers. And as the Covid-19 pandemic rages, it may be a long time before millions of Americans can breathe easy.
Are Your Allergies Really Bad This Year Theres A Reason For That
After more than a year of rigorous mask-wearing, its been a little surreal to see so many people pulling their coverings off while theyre outside. But besides getting used to seeing peoples chins again, you may have also noticed something else: A lot of people are looking a little red around the nose. Maybe youre even feeling it yourself. Seasonal allergies have been absolutely killer this year. But are they worse than usual, or are we just noticing it more right now, since with the end of the pandemic hopefully in sight, were all going outdoors more often and ditching the masks that may have kept pollen away from our nostrils last year?
Plants breathe in carbon dioxide, and carbon dioxide levels are increasing on Earth as a side effect of , allergist and immunologist Purvi Parikh, MD, told Well+Good. Its like the plants are on steroids, with mega-pollinator plants producing more pollen and for longer periods of time.
Other factors can also contribute to making airborne pollen even more volatile right now. Pollution like diesel exhaust and nitrogen oxide can lead to the creation of super pollen and very irritating air that triggers sneeze and mucus production, internist and immunologist, Tania Elliott, MD, tells Refinery29. Pollen can bind to diesel exhaust and it becomes super pollen traveling longer distances and being bigger making it a more potent allergen.
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When Does Allergy Season 2021 Start
Well, its technically *always* allergy season due to year-round offenders such as dust mites, mold, and pet dander, says Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network. But some allergenspollens, specificallyare seasonal.
Tree pollen, for example, pops up in the spring , grass pollen arrives in the late spring , weed pollen is most prevalent in the summer , and ragweed pollen takes over from summer to fall , says Dr. Parikh.
And, as mentioned, climate change means allergy season begins earlier and lasts longer, adds Corinne Keet, MD, PhD, a professor and allergist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Specifically, the season has been arriving 20 days earlier than it did in 1990, and contains at least 20 percent more pollen, the New York Times reported.
To get super-specific, Pollen.com has a National Allergy Map that provides an up-to-date allergy forecast in different areas around the country and an Allergy Alert app that gives five-day forecasts with in-depth info on specific allergens, helping you decide if you should stay indoors that day. You should also note that windy, warm, and sunny days can increase levels of pollen turnout, while drizzling or rainy weather is actually associated with no or lower levels of seasonal pollen, explains Clifford W. Bassett, MD, medical director at Allergy and Asthma Care of New York.