Prepare for a Longer and More Severe Fall Allergy Season

AllergiesFall is quickly approaching and it looks like allergy sufferers are in for a tough season. ABC News recently reported that “with record pollen counts already on the board for August, this fall is gearing up to be on the worst, and longest, allergy seasons yet. “  Allergy experts and scientists have noted that this allergy season may be a few weeks longer than the last few years.

Because  of a “a particularly wet summer, ragweed pollen levels are surging and standing water left over from summer flooding and Hurricane Irene has increased the amount of mold, a common year-round allergen, in the air.”

Pollen from trees and grass are the major triggers for spring allergy sufferers, but ragweed pollen is the typical trigger for most fall allergy issues. The fall allergy season “usually runs from mid-August until the first frost of the year, around early October, but if the frost is delayed, as is predicted for this year, the allergy season goes on indefinitely until it comes.”

Scientists have also argued that climate change is a source of the lengthening allergy seasons. Warmer weather leads to warmer, longer-lasting autumns, which in turn means that there’s less frost to destroy ragweed and prevent allergies.  In addition, higher temperatures lead to a similar problem with spring allergies, including spring starting nearly a month early.

Dr. Clifford Bassett, Medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, also notes that “single ragweed plant produces a million pollen grains, but if you expose it to greenhouse gases, it produces three to four times that much. So you have climate change making for a longer season, more plants and more potent pollen. It’s like a perfect storm.”

Allergy experts advise that you should take extra precautions this fall allergy season: “limit your exposure to the pollen, such as taking off outdoor clothing before coming into the bedroom or wearing sunglasses to prevent pollen from blowing into your eyes. Most importantly, if symptoms become severe or over-the-counter treatments don’t seem to be working, see an allergist.”