If you experience spring pollen allergies, you have likely noticed they are in full swing. What you may not know, is that your allergies could be getting worse each year.

Seasonal peaks and durations have been significantly altered by the increased number of record warm days over the past 150 years.  The result of increased warm weather includes increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. This with increasing temperatures is responsible for prolonging pollen seasons, increasing their pollen production and their allergic nature.  Studies show that birch tree pollen grown in warmer temperatures binds allergic receptors more strongly.  Additionally, pollens like ragweed have increased in distribution and released higher amounts of allergic antigen when grown in higher concentrations of carbon dioxide.  Air pollution can compound the allergic nature of pollen and significantly affect our immune system, further contributing to the severity of allergy symptoms.

It is important to differentiate your seasonal allergies with a viral illness, such as COVID-19.  Symptoms of nasal congestion, sneezing, red and/or itchy eyes, rashes and itchy skin are common with seasonal allergies.  Seasonal asthma may present with cough and wheezing, but fever is not typical of allergies or allergic asthma.  Likewise, nasal congestion and watery itchy and red eyes are less common in COVID-19.  Here at NIM, we continue to evaluate and treat allergies.  We encourage you to call for an appointment today, because the future of allergies is getting no less severe!

Denise M. Kearny, MD, MS

source Poole et al. JACI. 2019; 143:1702-10.