Do you feel as though your sneezing and sniffling starts earlier and earlier each year? The pollen season has started to begin earlier in the year starting as early as mid-February. Warmer weather and an increase in carbon dioxide contributes to this change. The warmer the Earth gets; the earlier spring begins for plants and animals. Carbon dioxide also plays a part in worsening the pollen season. More carbon dioxide puts more pollen in the air. Scientists have now linked anthropogenic climate change to an earlier and more devastating pollen season in the United States.

The Research

In a study recently published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), data showed not only a correlation to an earlier pollen season and anthropogenic climate change, but also a correlation in the increase in pollen and anthropogenic climate change. Anthropogenic climate change is climate change that originates from human activity. The study used long-term pollen data from 60 North American stations from 1990 to 2018. Results showed that the pollen season has begun to begin 21 days earlier with an increase of length by 8 days. The study also found an increase in pollen integrals by 20.9%-21.5%.

The study found that anthropogenic climate change impacted the pollen start date by 45%-84%, and 19–35% and 22–41% of the trend in pollen season length over the 1990–2018 and 2003–2018 periods, respectively. The contribution of anthropogenic climate change was stronger between 2003-2018 period than in the full 1990-2018 period. This is likely due to both an increase in anthropogenic forces and the increased ability to detect these forces.

The Effect on Allergies

Jamie Baker, a certified medical assistant and patient of National Allergy & ENT, is already experiencing sinus and allergy symptoms this year. “My allergies have gotten so bad this year I have to take medication every day. I am on allergy immunotherapy and in the past, I only needed to take medication on the days I received my injections. Now I am noticing symptoms every day, and I am suffering every day,” Baker said.

It is important that those with allergies, specifically pollen allergies, prepare for the early allergy season. Meet with an allergist to create a treatment plan that will work best for you. National Allergy & ENT has 3 allergists, a nurse practitioner, and an ENT that can help you keep those allergies and sinus symptoms at bay. To schedule an appointment, please call (843) 797-8162 or schedule online.