As COVID-19 Concerns Abound, Study Says Allergy Season Is Longer And More Severe Due to Climate Change
The allergy season will be longer than the normal year thanks to human-caused climate change. The study published in a peer-reviewed journal found that the warming seasons have caused plants to produce more pollen for longer periods of time.
It's not Spring yet, but are the sneezing and itchy eyes starting early?
According to a new study released Monday, yes, they are. The allergy season will be longer than the normal year thanks to human-caused climate change. The study published in a peer-reviewed journal found that the warming seasons have caused plants to produce more pollen for longer periods of time.
The researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied long-term pollen data across 60 areas of North America between 1990 to 2018.
Pollen seasons have 21% more pollen and start at least 20 days earlier, which the studies say is "strongly coupled" with the warming climate.
The greatest increase in pollen exposure is among tree populations, specifically in Texas and the midwestern United States, according to the study.
The increase in airborne pollen can exacerbate major respiratory health impacts in humans. Most common symptoms will experience additional weeks of typical drippy nose, itchiness, and other allergy symptoms.
Ties for the warmest years on record are 2016 and 2020, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The seven most recent years have been the hottest on record.
At the same time, many finding themselves coughing or sneezing or with a scratchy throat may wonder if it's allergies or possibly COVID-19.
"Unlike COVID-19, seasonal allergies aren't caused by a virus. Seasonal allergies are immune system responses triggered by exposure to allergens, such as seasonal tree or grass pollens," the Mayo Clinic writes. "COVID-19 and seasonal allergies cause many of the same signs and symptoms." However, there are some differences, the Mayo Clinic writes.
Allergies usually never cause a fever, muscle aches, nausea or vomiting or diarrhea, which are all symptoms of COVID-19. Itchy nose, eyes, mouth or inner ear are common symptoms of allergies, but are almost never found in COVID-19 cases, the Mayo Clinic writes.
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