As the world continues to experience global warming and climate change, it has become increasingly clear that allergies too are on the rise. Today, asthma and allergies are the most common chronic conditions affecting adults and children alike. Between 2001 and 2011, the rate of children with food allergies increased by 50 percent, while asthma cases doubled in number. According to studies, climate change is responsible for this increase in allergic disease.
One of the most significant impacts of climate change is the longer and more severe allergy seasons. With the warming of temperatures, plants are able to pollinate for longer periods, and as a result, allergy sufferers have to deal with prolonged periods of sneezing, congestion, and other symptoms. In fact, seasonal allergies are now starting earlier and lasting longer due to climate change. This means that people are exposed to longer periods of allergens, leading to unexpected allergy symptoms.
Thunderstorms are another weather phenomenon that can trigger asthma attacks and exacerbate allergy symptoms. During a storm, the wind and rain can break down pollen and mold spores into smaller, easily inhaled particles. These smaller particles can then reach deep into a person’s lungs and cause severe respiratory issues. Researchers warn that those with asthma or seasonal allergies should be alert of their symptoms when thunderstorms are approaching.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), the cost of managing allergies and triggering or worsening asthma is a significant burden on public health. It costs Americans $28 billion each year, including increasing susceptibility to respiratory viral infections. This means that it is imperative for individuals to take the necessary steps to reduce their exposure to allergens.
One of the most effective ways to minimize allergy triggers is to stay indoors on dry, windy days and avoid lawn mowing or weed pulling. When allergies are at their peak, it is essential to keep windows and doors closed, use air conditioning to filter out allergens, and avoid any outdoor activities. Furthermore, it is crucial to keep indoor spaces clean, dust-free, and free of mold and mildew.
CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are causing plants to produce more potent allergy-inducing irritants. This means that even people who have never had allergies before may develop them as a result of climate change. With this in mind, it is essential to take preventative measures to reduce exposure to allergens and improve indoor air quality.
Climate change is leading to longer and more severe allergy seasons, and thunderstorms can trigger asthma attacks and exacerbate allergic symptoms. While the cost of managing allergies and asthma is significant, with $28 billion spent annually in the US alone, it is essential to take preventative measures to reduce exposure to allergens. By staying indoors on dry and windy days, keeping indoor spaces clean, and avoiding outdoor activities during allergy season, individuals can minimize their exposure to allergens and improve their quality of life.