Climate Change and Your Allergies - Is there a Link?

16 Mar, 2016, 09:00 ET from Aprilaire

MADISON, Wis., March 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Even if your allergies are seasonal, their severity could be linked to recent global temperature trends. According to U.S.A Today, scientists believe increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is warming the earth, causing plants to grow more and release more pollen into the air. Warmer temperatures also mean pollen season is extended, causing symptoms in allergy sufferers for more months of the year.

While climate change is one factor that may be increasing allergy rates, there are likely others as well. Whatever the causes, allergists agree they are seeing more patients with seasonal sniffles and respiratory issues.  The worst times of year are generally the spring when trees bloom, and again in late summer when ragweed pollen takes to the air. Regardless of the allergy, remedies are similar since the actual symptoms are caused by the body's immune system and not the pollen itself.

Top tips for surviving a brutal spring

When the immune response strikes, some folks suffer from itchy eyes, while others have a runny nose or even skin issues. There are essentially three ways to deal with allergies: avoidance, symptom management, and antihistamines.

Antihistamines: These drugs are available "over the counter" and through a doctor. They suppress chemicals in your body called histamines, which cause allergy symptoms like itching, runny noses and watery eyes. While they don't cure your allergy, they prevent it from causing any symptoms – at least in the short term. Most people find if they skip a pill, their symptoms will return quickly. The medicines may also have some mild side-effects, such as drowsiness.

Symptom management: People who don't want to use an antihistamine can manage their symptoms in other ways – often with natural remedies. A neti pot or a hot shower, for example, can help clear out nasal congestion. Many supposed "folk remedies" exist for treating or preventing allergies, but it's best to consult a doctor if you're serious about managing your symptoms.

Avoidance: People can also work to avoid contact with the triggers that cause their symptoms. However, even indoors, pet dander, pollen and mold spores can wreak havoc on your family's comfort. One way to avoid allergens in the home is with the use of a high-capacity, whole-home air cleaner that traps these tiny particles before they aggravate allergies and asthma.

Other ways to avoid allergens include keeping windows closed, using a HEPA vacuum and leaving coats or other clothes that may have allergens on them in garage.  It's also a good idea to wash clothes immediately during allergy season, don't bring them in and leave them on the floor or in a hamper.

About Aprilaire:

We have been a brand leader in IAQ for more than 60 years, delivering a wide range of whole-home systems that improve comfort, health and energy efficiency. Our brand products are sold through and installed by HVAC contractors across the United States and Canada. Visit Aprilaire.com to learn more about whole-house air cleaners and total comfort solutions to purity, humidity, freshness and temperature. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/Aprilaire.

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