Spring has arrived, and so has allergy season. Fourteen percent of Americans are dealing with the congestion, sinus inflammation and sneezing brought on by their allergies.
With pollen’s link to plants, it may be surprising that hyperurbanized New York City is consistently worse than average, as the chart below shows.
But Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York, said allergy conditions are worse in urban areas because air pollution “supercharges” the pollen. Plant gender plays an important role as well.
Are your allergies so severe you can’t stop sneezing long enough to finish reading a complete sentence? Can you no longer recall the features on your girlfriend’s face because your eyes have been swollen shut for weeks now? Has the base of your nose developed calluses from such frenetic tissue-use? Have you sneezed yet? How about now? How about now?
Your miserable spring is brought to you by what has been dubbed a “pollen tsunami,” thanks to this winter’s particularly nasty cold. Dr. Clifford Basset, the medical director at Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, told DNAinfo that the heavy snow and rain made pollen “more potent.” Isn’t that charming?
An allergy is the immune system’s reaction when exposed to what is otherwise a harmless substance. It can be anything from plant pollen to mold, to almonds or milk.
With allergy season in full swing, are you prepared to fight the good fight? Follow these twelve steps and breathe easier this spring.
Spring might have gotten off to a slow start this year, but that hasn’t dampened the effects of pollen. In fact, Dr. Clifford Bassett, founder and medical director at Allergy and Asthma Care of New York told weather.com he predicted “a very robust pollen explosion” this spring — and he wasn’t wrong.
According to the doctor, there are a number of reasons for the spring sniffles. “One is the rising long term increase in carbon dioxide and its effect on increased production of pollen,” he said.
“There’s a couple factors,” Dr. Clifford Bassett, founder and medical director at Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, told weather.com. “One is the rising long term increase in carbon dioxide and its effect on increased production of pollen,” another is what he calls “the priming effect,” and the last comes down to a battle of the sexes: pollen-producing male trees are dominating greenspace in many cities.
Intense heat waves — a result of climate change — are one of the most dangerous ways to the planet’s health affects our own, according to a new World Health Organization report that will be presented at the European Environment and Health Process in Haifa, Israel, at the end of the month.
The WHO report also includes a framework for the 32 nations in Europe to address these and other health-related challenges.
“Health in Europe is already suffering as a result of the effects of climate change,” the organization wrote in a press release. “The devastating floods of May 2014 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia affected more than 2.5 million and killed 60 people. In addition, a WHO study released in 2014 projects an annual increase of heat-related deaths in Europe, reaching 27,000 by 2050, for the over-65 age group unless action is taken now.”
This week, New Yorkers emerged from their darkened studio apartments, blinking and stretching, to greet their first 70-degree day since October. But as the cotton dresses and sandals are resurrected from storage, so too are the eye drops and bottles of Allegra. “Although spring is off to a slow start, now we are starting to see catch up when it comes to a massive pollen surge, the ‘double whammy’ that combines tree and grass pollen, peaking over mid spring and beyond,” said allergist Dr. Clifford Bassett, who noted “this year’s season will be one of the toughest in years.
Why, exactly? Dr. Bassett points to a number of factors. First off, heavy winter precipitation means the soil and roots of allergenic plants are especially hydrated, priming them to release higher levels of pollen than after a dryer winter. But because temperatures have been so cold recently, plants haven’t begun to bloom yet.
This year’s ranking of Spring Allergy Capitals is in, and it’s bad news yet again for allergy sufferers in the Southern half of the United States. Jackson, Mississippi, and Louisville, Kentucky, top the 2015 list of the “most challenging places to live with allergies,” published annually by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Oklahoma City, Memphis, and Knoxville round out the top five.
What makes these cities especially allergenic? Each has its own unique cocktail of airborne allergens, of course. Tree pollen is a major culprit in seasonal allergies, and certain types of trees, such as mulberry and olive, are more allergenic than others. There are also factors that tend to exacerbate symptoms across the board.