Allergy Season 2018: Starting Earlier, Lasting Longer

Chilly temperatures are distracting from the arrival of the spring season in the United States. But with the warmer weather comes seasonal allergies.

Allergy sufferers across the country are stocking up on antihistamines and tissues in preparation for the upcoming allergy season, but just how bad is it going to be?

As the climate changes and temperatures rise, the amount of pollen in the air and the length of time it stays there increase, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. This combination means worsening allergy seasons to come for many.

“We believe that spring allergy seasons are beginning earlier, lasting longer, so more time for pesky pollen to find their ways into your eyes, nose and throats,” Dr. Clifford Bassett, the founder and director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, told Newsweek.  

Not only does the changing climate do this, but greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can also increase some pollen levels, Bassett said.

The spring allergy season has been beginning an average of two weeks early and can even start in the winter time, lasting until the end of spring, he added. The impact is so significant that is was included in the National Climate Assessment done in 2014.

“Longer growing seasons, along with higher temperatures and carbon dioxide levels, can increase pollen production, intensifying and lengthening the allergy season,” according to a section of the the assessment on “widespread impacts.”

Individuals have a range of pollens they’re allergic to, though, which can influence how and when they suffer throughout the season. The amount of precipitation can also impact pollen growth Bassett said, especially for those pollens from grass and trees.

Those who suffer from allergies should confirm which allergies they suffer from with an in-office allergy test, Bassett said. Allergy sufferers should reduce their exposure to the allergens that bother them most, which could mean limiting time outside on days when the pollen forecast is particularly bad.

Make sure to prepare, Basset noted. “Pre-treat before symptoms actually begin to prevent ‘priming’ and in many cases may be able to reduce or prevent seasonal pollen misery."

allergy season flowers and sneezing Rising temperatures are causing allergy season to start earlier and last longer. This photo shows a woman blowing her nose near a bush during allergy season in France, May 18, 2013. Philippe Huguen/Getty Images