Why Are My Allergies So Bad Today – Whether it’s the fresh, crisp air of the season or the foliage adventures that beckon outdoors in fall, when you get outdoors you can be sure: Ambrosia will be waiting.
, is a common culprit of late summer and fall allergies, causing sniffles and sneezing in 15 to 20 percent of Americans. And no wonder: every state in the US, except Alaska, not only has ragweed, but also has a chance to survive. It grows in poor soils. Its seeds remain viable for many years. And it takes root almost everywhere, from roadsides to rose gardens.
Why Are My Allergies So Bad Today
Although ragweed is an annual, meaning it only lives for one growing season, a single plant can produce 1,000 billion pollen grains. In addition, these beads are so light that they can travel hundreds of kilometers with the wind. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, they have been found up to 400 miles offshore and up to two miles, which is the equivalent of eight Empire State Buildings above ground.
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As if ragweed wasn’t tough enough, the hot climate makes these pesky plants tougher in more ways than one.
On the one hand, the ragweed season lasts longer due to higher temperatures. Autumns in the surrounding United States were an average of 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.4 degrees Celsius) warmer since 1970, which in turn delayed the first fall frosts by an average of 11 days. Killing ragweed requires temperatures between 25 and 28 F, or what is called moderate frost. However, due to global warming, temperatures remain higher throughout the calendar year, resulting in August to September. the season in most of the US extends into November in some states.
As temperatures rise faster in higher latitudes, the northern United States is experiencing the longest ragweed season. For example, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where average fall temperatures nearly double those of the United States, the ragweed pollen season was extended by more than 2.5 weeks.
Also, the longer the air temperature stays comfortably warm, the later people go outside to enjoy it, increasing their exposure to airborne allergens.
Penn State Deer Forest Study
A map of North America showing the length of the pollen season for 11 cities, including (from south to north) Austin, Texas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Rogers, Arkansas; Papillon, Nebraska; Madison, Wisconsin; Lacrosse, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Fargo, North Dakota; Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. 1995-2015 ragweed season has been extended to 25 days in some parts of the US and Canada. (Source: EPA)
In a warmer world, ragweed is likely to spread northwards. Although the pesky weed is already found in northeastern states such as New York and New Hampshire, its distribution has been documented to be limited to parts of the South. However, in 2018 The study predicts that in a worst-case scenario with high emissions, where neither carbon dioxide concentrations nor average temperatures stabilize by 2100, ragweed is likely to spread across and north of Albany, New York. Montpelier, Vermont; Concord, New Hampshire; and Augusta, Maine, for the next 30 years.
In addition to rising temperatures, more frequent and intense droughts due to climate change make it easier for wind to disperse ragweed pollen, which is already light. Wet weather can cause pollen to accumulate, carrying it to the surface and away from the sinus tubes, while in dry conditions it remains loose and airy.
Climate change is not only allowing ragweed to push further north, it is also altering the biological life cycle of the species. Higher concentrations of carbon dioxide encourage ragweed plants to grow larger, flower faster and produce heavier seeds, according to a study published in the American Journal of Botany.
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In another study, researchers examined carbon dioxide’s ability to increase the “allergenicity” of ragweed, meaning it can cause an allergic reaction in humans. Ambrosia plants were exposed to ambient and high (700 ppm) carbon dioxide levels. The pollen was then extracted and injected into the subjects. The researchers found that pollen grown in high carbon dioxide increased levels of the plant’s main allergen protein.
, also caused more severe allergic lung inflammation. This finding suggests that recent increases in carbon dioxide have already increased the severity of fall allergy seasons, and the predicted increase will continue in the coming years.
This study predicts a bleak future for allergy sufferers, but just yet there’s no need to panic when buying your favorite over-the-counter antihistamine. Outdoor precautions can also help.
First, if you have ragweed sensitivity, try to limit any outdoor activity to 3:00 p.m., which is the peak time in the morning and midday.
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What if, for example, you have to go outside during the day because you work outside? In this case, KN95 or N95 respirators (a popular sight during the COVID crisis) will essentially filter out ragweed pollen that you would otherwise inhale. Covering your hair with a baseball cap or bandana and checking the local pollen forecast before heading out the door are also good habits.
When you get home, be careful not to spot any pollen indoors. Things like removing shoes outside, keeping “contaminated” items in the mudroom, changing underwear quickly, and showering before bed can help protect against pollen.
The good news is that ragweed season usually ends in mid to late November. After that, you can breathe easier, that is until you sneeze out the mold and dust inside. True, an old saying
Tiffany Means is a science writer living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Before becoming a writer, he was a meteorologist. Her stories are a way to communicate science news and ideas… More Tiffany Means When the weather changes and the trees start to shed pollen, do you wonder if your respiratory symptoms are caused by allergies or something more serious? Dr. William Reisacher, otolaryngologist and director of allergy services in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, explains how to recognize the warning signs of COVID. 19 this may be a reason to call your doctor.
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A viral illness like COVID-19 usually has a fever, not an allergy. Pollen allergy causes sneezing and itchy eyes, nose and throat, which is less common with COVID-19. Coughing is a common symptom of COVID-19 and may also occur in some allergic patients. A sudden loss of smell or taste without significant nasal symptoms is also indicative of COVID-19.
Here’s another difference between COVID-19 and seasonal allergies: With seasonal allergies, symptoms get better and worse when you’re outside. With a viral infection, it usually gets worse.
Children with allergies are restless, and adults with allergies are more tired. If the child is sleepy, has a fever and constant cough, itchy eyes or a dry nose, the pediatrician should be notified.
There is currently no evidence that people with pollen allergies are more susceptible to COVID-19. Although people with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of severe COVID-19, people with allergies are not immune-compromised; their allergy is an overreaction of the immune system.
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However, among people with some degree of asthma, those with more severe disease tend to be at higher risk for viral infections, especially if their asthma is not well controlled. So now is a good time to review how you manage your allergies and asthma, if you have them. You and your doctor can review ways to manage your condition and make changes if necessary.
Should we be concerned that inhalers are inadvertently spreading the virus by turning airborne droplets into a finer aerosol?
With any viral infection, clinicians must be aware of the dangers of aerosolization. However, the patient can safely use inhalers and should use them at home or outside when needed. However, if you must use inhalers, it is still very important to keep your distance from other people.
Many people use this time spent at home to spring clean. Do you have any tips for those with spring allergies?
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If the allergy is caused by pollen, staying indoors can help, and if spring cleaning makes you feel better, that’s a plus. Please note that cleaning may generate a lot of dust; so if you are allergic to indoor allergens, ensure adequate ventilation and keep a mask handy.
Can someone with other severe allergies (such as allergies to nuts, animals, or plants) get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Allergies to airborne substances such as pollen, dust, and pet dander, or food allergies do not disqualify you from getting the COVID-19 vaccine, even if you are receiving allergy immunotherapy. It is important to consult with an allergist whether you should continue treatment on the day of vaccination. Not even very mild reactions to the first vaccine
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