High Pollen Levels Are Making This Allergy Season One Of The Worst

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Flu allergy. Sick girl sneezing in tissue. Health

It’s not all in your head. This year’s allergy season has been especially bad.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, there’s been a spike in the number of Americans suffering from seasonal allergies this year. In fact, many people are experiencing hay fever for the first time.

“You can’t go out, you can’t ride a bike, you can’t exercise,” said allergy sufferer Patricia Ospina to CBS New York. “Last night I actually had a really bad attack and it was so bad I was going to end up in the emergency room.”

Up to 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from nasal allergies. Allergies include symptoms of burning and itchy eyes, runny nose, and nasal congestion. In some cases, strong allergic reactions to pollen can cause difficulty breathing.

Research shows that allergy seasons are lasting up to 27 days longer than they did in the past. And those in the Northwest and Southwest are getting hit the worst.

But why is allergy season so strong this year?

The answer, researchers say, may be climate change.

Recent winters have been warmer and wetter than in years past. Rising global temperatures have increased airborne pollen levels.

These rising pollen levels have caused allergy seasons to last for longer periods of time and have been affecting those without a history of allergies.

“[The] warming trend that we have in our environment is causing the pollen seasons to start a little bit earlier, and extend a little bit longer,” said Dr. Stanley Fineman. Fineman is the former president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

“Consequently, patients are suffering because they’re exposed to pollen for longer periods of time,” Fineman said.

New York is home to some of the world’s top pollen makers including oak, maple, and birch trees. Dandelions and other flowering weeds are also some of the key culprits.

Dr. Clifford Bassett, the medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, suggests that allergy sufferers begin treating their symptoms with over-the-counter antihistamines.

Bassett also suggests using a nasal steroid for nasal congestion up to two weeks before the start of allergy season. It may be a good idea to seek out an allergy specialist if your allergies are more severe.

“We don’t suffer from allergies, but my son does something fierce,” said Jennifer Henderson of Millville, New Jersey. “Our Claritin supply has certainly increased in the house!”