Youre Soaking Up The Great Outdoors
As you should be! We cant think of better ways to enjoy the beautiful fall weather than farmers markets and morning hikes. But if youre a seasonal allergy sufferer, any time spent outdoors can stir up symptoms. You dont have to head inside for good, but do reconsider your timing.
Pollen counts are highest from early morning until 10 a.m., so try to postpone your activity until later in the day, suggests Rachna Shah, M.D., allergist and faculty member of Loyola School of Medicine.
Seasonal Allergies Are Getting Worse Every Year
Here are some natural ways to stop your bodys reaction and relieve your suffering!According to the Harvard Health Letter, seasonal allergies are starting earlier every year, and pollen counts are rising. At least 36 million people are affected by seasonal allergies each year in the US.Seasonal allergic rhinitis occurs when ones immune system overreacts to foreign materials and produces an inflammatory response. Grass, weeds, and trees release tiny pollens into the air, and inhaling them triggers a reaction of your immune system. Floating pollutants such as mold spores and dust mite droppings also contribute .Uncovering what makes the immune system respond the way it does is important. One theory is that an excessive antigenic stimulus overwhelms the immune system, and this is what leads to an inflammatory response. In other words, a small amount of allergen may not be enough to cause symptoms, but continued exposureor the exposure of number of different antigenscan lead to an overload of the system. This is magnified when ones immune system is weak .There are natural approaches to seasonal allergies that work well:
- Reduce general inflammation in the body. Eating lots of veggies with deep-water fish will decrease inflammation levels. Omega-3s from all sources can reduce inflammation as well. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, licorice, skullcap, cordyceps, and perilla have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties .
It’s Not Just You Who’s Suddenly Having Seasonal Allergies
The World Allergy Organization reports that the prevalence of allergies has risen in industrialized countries over the past 50 years. In 2018 alone, more than 19 million adults in the U.S. were diagnosed with hay fever , according to the CDC. Meng Chen, M.D., an allergist at Stanford Universitys Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research, says her office is seeing more cases each day. Its something I oftentimes hear from patientsIve never had allergies, and all of a sudden, I, an adult, have developed all of these allergies, she says. What the heck is going on?
For one thing, the world is warming up, and that leads to longer allergy seasons as much as 27 days longer, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Then theres all the moving around we dothe average 30-year-old will have already moved about six times in their life. If some resident in your building has cats, or your new bedroom faces a field of sagebrush, you may develop a reaction youve never experienced before.
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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.
Why Is Allergy Season 2020 Worse Than Most
The reason for the worsening allergies this season is that two pollen seasons are overlapping in an unusual way. Ordinarily, tree pollen saturates the air in April and May. By June, trees finish their pollination, and grasses begin theirs. This leads to a steady pollen level throughout the spring and early summer, producing a normal allergy season.
This year, though, the dynamic is a bit different. Cool weather and rains lasted longer into the spring than usual in many parts of the United States this year. As a result, the pollination season for trees began later than normal. This has meant an overlap between tree pollen and grass pollen season that has led to more severe allergies for many people.
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Bernie’s Notes On Allergies
Ahhh…Ahhh….Ahhh…Ahhh-choo!Just kidding! Ever since my parents started giving me Bernie’s Perfect Poop every day, my itchies and scratchies went away. They say it has something to do with my gut, but I’m just glad I’m not trying to chew my paws off anymore after I come inside from playing. If you’re constantly telling your dog “Gesundheit!” and hoping he stops scratching and waking you up at 3am, Perfect Poop can help. The fiber, pre- and probiotics combined with digestive enzymes that all taste so yummy are like allergen magic!Wishing your dog days full of sniffing flowers without paying for it later, Bernie F.
How To Know What You’re Allergic To
Since it takes a while for the allergy to build up and hammer you, it can take a while to track down whats driving it. You dont have to know exactly which grass or tree is your nemesisdosing up with OTC allergy medication can usually squelch symptoms .
Another path, which I took, is to visit an allergist. I got tested for 46 different allergens, and all but onea slight allergy to dust mitescame back negative.
I decided to try OTC medications and rolled through a few, none of which had any effect on me whatsoever. After months of that, my allergist offered another diagnosis altogether: What I likely had was an almost-allergy. In some people, artificial fragrances create symptoms that mimic an allergic reaction, but theyre not actually allergies. I probably was hypersensitive to some manufactured scents and perfumes.
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Mold Becomes A Bigger Issue
Nothing looks more quintessentially autumn than leaves falling into big piles. But once foliage starts to decay, it becomes a breeding ground for mold. Breathing in spores can aggravate asthma and cause heavy breathing, wheezing, and other upper respiratory symptoms in those with mold allergies.
Damp basements are another common source of mold. Dr. Leija suggests placing a dehumidifier downstairswhether the rooms are finished or notand cleaning any filters for your furnace, which could be pushing airborne mold spores into your upper floors.
A Longer Pollen Season
Weather in Northwest Arkansas has been fickle, but Pollen.com is already showing us with a high pollen count. Over the past couple of decades, weve seen an earlier spring and a longer pollen season. That naturally means a longer seasonal allergy season.
For the U.S. in general, the trend averages an extra 20 high pollen days each year, and more than 20% more pollen concentration overall. Thats not just a brief spell when winter gives over to spring. Its tree pollen followed by grass pollen, weed pollen all summer, and ragweed in particular until October brings a frost.
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Climate Change Linked To Longer Allergy Season In Bay Area Stanford Study Finds
Air levels of pollen and mold spores in the San Francisco Bay Area are elevated for about two more months per year than in past decades, and higher temperatures are to blame, a Stanford Medicine study has found.
Stanford researchers have found that changes in temperature and rainfall have lengthened allergy season in the Bay Area.Elizaveta Galitckaia/Shutterstock
Bay Area allergy sufferers take note: Climate change has lengthened the local pollen and mold season by eight to nine weeks per year during the past two decades, according to a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The study, based on allergen data collected starting in 2002 in Los Altos Hills, California, found that local temperature increases are linked to longer tree and grass pollen seasons, while changes in local precipitation are linked to more mold spores in the air. Tree pollen and mold seasons each grew by about half a week per year from 2002 through 2019, the study found. The research, the first to analyze the effects of climate change on airborne allergens in the San Francisco Bay Area, was published online June 17 in the journal Scientific Reports.
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, she said. My patients were complaining, and I would say, This is such a tough year, but then I thought, wait, Im saying that every year.
Keeping A Record Of Your Symptoms
Keep a diary that describes your symptoms and when and where they occur. Your diary could include information about whether your symptoms occur:
- inside your home, outside or both
- for a short time or longer
- at night, during the day or when you wake up
- at a particular time of the year
- near animals
- after you have been stung or bitten by an insect
- after you have had a particular food or drink
- after you have taken a particular medication, either prescription or over the counter from a pharmacy or supermarket
- after you have taken a herbal medicine.
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.
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.
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Seasonal Allergies: What You Need To Know
Pollen is an airborne substance that comes from grass, flowering plants, trees, and weeds. In the past 12 months, 19.2 million adults and 5.2 million children under 18 were diagnosed with hay fever, the name given to allergic rhinitis caused by pollen. When someone has hay fever, their immune system identifies pollen as a threat and releases signals that lead to congestion, itchy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing, as well as problems like sinus pressure and allergic conjunctivitis .
The amount of pollen in the air depends on the season and the geographic area in which you live. The study reported in PNAS found the most pronounced effects in Texas and the Midwestern United States. However, the Northeast can have a significant spring allergy season as well, Dr. Leeds says. Tree allergies are especially common in New Englandparticularly due to birch and oak. Pollen allergies can also cause a cross-reaction with certain foods in some people symptoms include an itchy or tingling mouth and throat after eating raw fruits and vegetables, seeds, and nuts.
People may also have allergic reactions to grass pollen in the late spring to early summer and weed pollen in the fall. Many people are multi-sensitized, so they are allergic to more than one type of pollen, and they can be symptomatic through all of the warm weather seasons, Dr. Leeds says. Pollen can be carried by the wind, so windy days are the worst.
Why Your Allergies Are So Bad Right Now And What You Can Do About It
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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Allergy Season : Why Your Symptoms Are Worse Than Ever
Many people with seasonal allergies are struggling right now, trapped in a vicious cycle of coughing, sneezing, wheezing and itching.
If this sounds like you, you might be wondering whats going on. Is this allergy season particularly brutal, or do your symptoms just seem worse because you were inside and not exposed to many allergens in spring 2020? Or is it all in your head?
According to allergists, its not just you. Its true your allergies may feel worse this year. Heres the deal and how to find some relief:
Causes Of Pollen Allergies
For all allergies, the immune system reacts to specific allergy trigger molecules . Your immune system produces antibodies that detect the allergen and cause inflammatory reactions and the release of a chemical called histamine. Histamine causes hay fever symptoms, such as itchy and watery nose and eyes, and sneezing.In general, pollen from grass, weeds and trees that are not native to Australia cause more allergies than native plants. Wattle is rarely a cause of allergic symptoms, although people can think it is the cause of their hay fever symptoms.In Victoria, inland areas tend to have higher pollen counts and northerly winds can bring pollens from inland regions to the coastal areas, including Melbourne. In contrast, the east coast of Australia often has less pollen, because winds tend to blow in from the sea and the Great Dividing Range protects the coast from inland winds. In South Australia and Western Australia, levels of pollen in the air vary, depending on wind direction.
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 Allergies Are Seasonal
The season for pollen allergies can last for several months and occurs when the plants are flowering. This will vary depending on location and the type of plant. For instance:
- Non-native trees tend to pollinate in late winter and spring.
- In Victoria, winds from the north tend to bring pollen from non-native grasses growing inland between October and December.
- White Cypress pine is the only Australian tree that produces highly allergenic pollen and it flowers between late July and the end of August.
- Species of casuarina or Australian oak trees produce pollen throughout the year and can cause hay fever symptoms at any time.
The medical specialists who diagnose allergies have online calendars showing when common species of pollen cause allergies in the states and territories of Australia.
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