The growing allergy problem: nothing to sneeze at!
Keeping Brooklyn Healthy

The growing allergy problem: nothing to sneeze at!

Not only are more of us suffering from allergies, the symptoms seem to be getting worse as well. Kids are coming down with allergies at younger ages. Adding insult to injury, experts predict that future allergy seasons will last longer in many parts of the country than ever before, starting earlier and ending later. In fact, it’s already starting to happen.

Why the change? Well, it seems to be a combination of factors.

First, there’s global warming, which seems to be lengthening the growing season with earlier springs and later autumns. Plus, the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that causes global warming is also fueling photosynthesis and plant and tree growth, which means more pollen floating in the air and into your lungs.

On the East Coast in 2013, Hurricane Sandy and unusually heavy precipitation last winter followed by early warm weather created a larger than usual volume of groundwater, further promoting plant and pollen proliferation.

Not only is there more pollen, it also seems to be more powerful than normal, almost supercharged.

Aside from pollen, climate change could also be producing higher ozone concentrations, which make it more difficult to breathe. And we’re seeing heavier downpours and rising air temperatures, which foster the growth of indoor fungi and molds.

While most of us associate allergies with spring and summer, autumn allergies are quite common and are usually caused by ragweed, mold and dust mites released when you first turn on the heat.

So that’s the bad news. Here’s the good news. You can do something about diagnosing and managing those sniffly, sneezy symptoms:

  • Get a professional diagnosis. Find out whether you've got seasonal allergies, and how severe they are.
  • Treat early. If you use nasal antihistamines, steroids, oral antihistamines or eye drops for seasonal allergies, don't wait until your symptoms are unbearable.
  • Be in the know. Make a habit of checking allergen levels in your area.
  • Accessorize appropriately. Wear oversized sunglasses to block airborne pollens, and opt for a wide-brimmed hat to keep pollen and other allergens from landing in your hair or eyes.
ShareThis

Find A Physician

Pay My Bill