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Allergy season is getting worse. Why climate change is to blame

Click to play video: 'How climate change is affecting seasonal allergies' How climate change is affecting seasonal allergies
Some of us don't need to be told that allergy season is in full swing. And the overlap between cold and flu season can make it hard to distinguish between the two. On top of that, climate change is making allergy season even worse. Senior meteorologist Kristi Gordon explains why. – Mar 30, 2022

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you are well aware the dreaded season is underway, and for many, it’s another bad year.

According to medical experts, the allergy season has been getting worse.

”It is starting earlier and it seems to be lasting longer, especially over the last few years,” Global BC medical contributor Dr. Birinder Narang said.

A group of scientists in the U.S. found two reasons why.

First, they found a 21-per-cent increase in pollen concentrations over the last three decades while studying more than 800 sites across North America.

Carbon dioxide stimulates plant growth, so as the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere increases, so will pollen concentrations.

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To make matters worse, their study also found the pollen season lengthened by an average of 20 or more days over the same time period.

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Read more: Hamilton ‘definitely’ has higher levels of allergy-causing pollen compared to last 4 years: experts

Rising temperatures have impacted the growing season and thus the pollen season. Spring is arriving earlier and lasting longer, and the pattern is expected to continue.

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Another group of scientists at Climate Central, a non-profit organization of scientists and journalists based in the United States, examined more than 200 sites around the U.S. and found the growing season increased in 82 per cent of the locations.

Data from Seattle showed an increase of 17 days and Spokane, 25 days, while some locations saw an increase of close to three months over the past half century.

If you are suffering from allergies, Narang recommended first identifying which allergens impact you. See a board-certified allergy physician to get tested.

Next, find ways to avoid those allergens. Close doors and windows, use air conditioning, and avoid the outdoors on dry, windy and hot days.

If your allergies continue to be significant, Narang recommended a second-generation non-drowsy antihistamine, as these do not cross the blood-brain barrier. They are long-lasting and won’t keep you awake at night.

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