HOUSTON (CW39) – As spring arrives so does that dreaded allergy season… But wait? Spring just started last week, and it seems like we have been dealing with allergies for a while now.
It is no breaking news that the earth is warming. We have been tracking an increase in global temperatures for years.
New studies have come out showing that spring-like temperatures are arriving earlier in the year, and fall-like temperatures are lingering later.
This means growing seasons are getting longer! And a longer growing season can lead to a longer allergy season. Our growing season is the time between the last spring freeze and first fall freeze. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America Between 1995 and 2011, warmer temperatures in the U.S. have caused the pollen season to be 11 to 27 days longer.
I spoke with Serge De Golovine M.D., a Board Certified Physician at the McGovern Allergy and Asthma Clinic P.A., to see if this increased length in the pollen season has impacted his patients, he agreed.
De Golovine states, ” “Every year I’m becoming more and more busy earlier in the year with pollen season, especially with oak. We are starting to see it earlier and earlier, with more patients coming in, and again longer into April and sometimes into may, and then it overlaps now with the grass season. So, there is no rest period from one season to the other one. It is a continuation from Spring, Summer, and into fall where is no break for these allergy patients.”
Without breaks, this could be taxing on not only your body, but your wallet. The total cost of allergies is more than 18 billion dollars in the U.S. Doctor De Golovine States that it is however cheaper to treat the cause than the symptoms. That is why you want to see a specialist if you suffer.
He also mentioned another aspect of the pollen season we should take into account:
“One thing we have to consider is not just the length of the pollen season, but also the intensity of that season. If you look at the past 10 years or so, every year, the pollen count, with some variations of course, is higher and higher. When patients respond to allergens they don’t just respond to length of the season, but also how much pollen there is floating around.”, De Golovine says.
Humans need oxygen but plants require carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere impacts pollen concentrations because it can stimulate plant growth. We have seen carbon dioxide emissions increase over the past decade and they are projected to only go up in the future.