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Allergy Season: Can there be good and bad seasons for allergies?

by Dominique Vanier, B.Sc.H., M.Env.Sc., on 16 March 2017, Allergies
allergy season

If there’s one predictable quality about seasonal allergies, it is that you can bank on their arrival during the spring and fall of each year.

Less predictable these days, however, is the severity of seasonal allergy symptoms….

Each year since 2012 has been touted as “the worst pollen season” according to national allergy forecasts. And this is indeed true according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI): every year, the amount of pollen in the air during allergy season has worsened.

Effects of climate change

Some are calling this phenomenon the “pollen tsunami,” and attributing its recent skyrocketing to the effects of climate change. It is thought that our recent warmer climate has lead to an increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide from longer growing seasons, resulting in high pollen counts.

In fact, based on current data, an article published in the Nature Climate Change journal estimates that ragweed pollen counts will quadruple by 2050 in Europe, with similar patterns happening in Canada.

These changes may not only heighten the incidence and prevalence of ragweed allergy, but may also worsen the misery and suffering for those who currently have allergies.

Healthy tips for the allergy season

Being educated about the allergy season can help empower you to make decisions about your health. The following tips may help you better manage your allergy symptoms:

  • Stay informed. Ensure you stay up-to-date on the pollen index for your area. Most local weather networks frequently release pollen reports, so be sure to check often during allergy season.
  • Get feedback. Try tracking your symptoms through an app, such as MyNasalAllergyJournal.org through the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. By comparing your historical to current symptoms, you will have a clear picture on whether your seasonal allergy symptoms are worse than in the past.
  • Relax indoors! Although it is important to get outdoors – especially during reasonable temperatures in the spring and fall – your allergies will thank you if stay indoors on days when pollen counts are high.
  • Get your vitamin C. Vitamin C is a natural anti-histamine, the chief compound in our bodies responsible for causing common allergy symptoms. Berries, oranges, dark green leafy vegetables, and yellow bell peppers are all excellent, healthy foods high in vitamin C. You can also try the Hayfever Blasting Smoothie recipe to up your daily dose.
  • Don’t overload your immune system. Support your immune system by eating a clean, whole-foods, plant-focused diet that is high in anti-oxidants, such as foods high in vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, and beta-carotene.
  • Get symptomatic relief. You may find some relief by trying Allergy Relief, which may help with congestion and sneezing attacks.
  • Stay clean. Wash your hair and face and change your clothes after you have worked or played outdoors. Pollen particles are sneaky and will stay on your skin and body.
  • Visit your primary healthcare provider. Ensure to work with your healthcare practitioner who will guide you on appropriate medical treatment and monitor your symptoms.

References:
https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/124/4/ehp.124-A70.alt.pdf
Hamaoui-Laguel L, Vautard R, Liu Let al. Effects of climate change and seed dispersal on airborne ragweed pollen loads in Europe. Nature Climate Change  doi:10.1038/nclimate2652.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23666445

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