Here’s the thing, though. If we don’t heed Greta Thunberg and soon, that’s exactly what we’re looking at.
Pollen: The Culprit Behind Seasonal Allergies
Allergies occur when our body’s immune system overreacts to an otherwise harmless substance. The reactions can range from mild symptoms like rashes and itchy eyes to more severe ones like anaphylaxis, where blood pressure drops and airways swell shut.
Every year, plants like elm trees, ryegrass, and ragweed excrete pollen as part of their reproductive cycle. This fine, powdery substance also happens to be an allergy trigger for many people, hence the springtime sniffles.
Normally, hay fever sufferers would simply load up on tissues, nasal sprays, and antihistamines to ride out allergy season. Unfortunately, both the amount of pollen and the length of pollen seasons have increased significantly over the past two decades. And thanks to higher amounts of miniscule pollen particles hitting the air, even people who don’t have allergies are feeling under the weather.
How Climate Change Is Pushing Pollen Production Into Overdrive
Longer and more intense plant pollination cycles are directly correlated to higher carbon dioxide levels and warmer temperatures.
The latter means that spring starts earlier and winter arrives later, thus giving pollen producers more time to spew their particles into the air. Carbon dioxide surges, meanwhile, get plants to produce more pollen in response. (Yep, exhaust from cars along the highway do contribute to your allergies in more ways than one.)
Furthermore, all that car exhaust and pollution combined with mold can create super-antigens, which more people are allergic to. It’s a fancy term for more potent allergen strains, but it sounds terrifying all the same.
Coping With Allergy Season
Whether you’ve been dealing with the sniffles all your life or are a novice to the world of nasal sprays, these tips for surviving the heavy influx of pollen might help:
- Reach for some salt water.
- Remove your shoes and outdoor clothes as soon as you get home.
- Keep your windows closed.
- Don a surgical mask for outdoor chores.
- Consult with your physician for the right medications.
Feeling a tickle in the back of your throat? Try a saline spray to flush out the pollen from your nasal membranes and prevent them from taking hold. Once or twice a day ought to ease congestion.
You wouldn’t want to unwittingly drag allergens into the house. Leave your shoes by the door and dump your coat into a hamper beside it, if possible. Rinse off any lingering pollen on your hair and body before getting into bed as well.
Sure, springtime blooms are pretty, but they’re also pollen bombs. Best to keep your shutters drawn. It might be a good idea to invest in an air conditioner with a filter as well.
Whether you’re tending to your garden or spring-cleaning your garage, put a surgical mask on to minimize your exposure to allergens. Go for the ones marked N95 as these filter out 95 percent of particles.
Decongestants relieve stuffy noses while antihistamines can ease inflammation and itching. Your doctor should be able to prescribe which ones to take for maximum effectiveness.
TLDR version: Keep those tissues handy and maybe stop denying climate change as a reality.