Why is the pollen so bad this year? We are not alone. My fellow Allergists are seeing the same thing in their patients. Our practice has recently seen an increase in allergic hives this year, much higher than any other year. As well, I am seeing higher-grade allergies from pollen, like more serious sinus infections, total body hives, and anaphylaxis.
It likely involves climate-driven changes in pollen emission from plants. Many of you heard me discuss this on the news this spring. This is known to have increased pollen by 40% in our area over the last 2 decades and will continue to result in an increase. It is estimated, for example, that pollen emission will increase by 200% by the end of the century. Spring and fall pollen seasons are also likely to last longer as well, adding to our misery.
Temperature is only part of the equation; the bigger driver of the future pollen increase will be rising carbon dioxide emissions. Temperature changes, humidity changes, thunderstorms, rain, and wind can inflame the airways, leading to flare-ups but studies find that the U.S. will face up to a 200% increase in total pollen this century if the world continues producing carbon dioxide emissions at a high rate.
How? Carbon dioxide fuels photosynthesis, so plants may grow larger and produce more pollen. Fueled by higher temperatures and milder winters, plants are blooming earlier and longer in some parts of the country including right here in Arizona. Many people with allergies experience worse symptoms when early spring weather fluctuates between warm and cold.
People with respiratory conditions tend to breathe through the mouth and doing so brings irritants directly to the lungs. It also doesn’t allow your nose to regulate the humidity and air temperature.
So is this the worst pollen season ever?
YES! and next year will also be, and the year after, and the year after,…
Don’t wait! come in and get your allergies tested and treated now. Meet Dr. Wendt! Call us at 480-500-1902 and schedule a consult TODAY!
Zhang, Y. and Steiner, A.L. Projected climate-driven changes in pollen emission season length and magnitude over the continental United States. Nature Communication (2022) 13: 1234. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-28764-0