The first few warm days of the year bring the excitement of spring and more time outdoors enjoying nature. But for 54% of Americans, spring may also include, a stuffy nose, itchy throat, scratchy cough and a daily headache. Yes, it is also allergy season. And because of climate change, that struggle could continue to get worse and more prolonged, according to a recent study published by researchers at the University Michigan earlier this month.
The study analyzed computer simulations of how allergy season will change over the course of this century and found that rising temperatures, emissions, levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and precipitation are all expected to translate to increased pollen production and longer allergy seasons.
According to the study, pollen season is expected to start 10-40 days earlier and last 5-20 days longer, while total annual pollen emissions are expected to rise between 15% and 40% due to seasonal change and temperature-driven pollen production. That means people could be walking around with pockets full of tissues, inhalers and antihistamines for up to eight additional weeks each year.
Climate change has already extended the pollen season, and that trend is expected to continue if emissions aren’t curbed and other preventive measures aren’t taken. According to the CDC, climate change can influence:
- when the pollen season starts and ends and how long it lasts each year,
- how much pollen plants create and how much is in the air,
- how pollen affects our health (the “allergenicity” of pollen),
- how much pollen we’re exposed to, and
- our risk of experiencing allergy symptoms.
How Pollen Affects Health
Pollen is tiny, airborne particles of flowering plants, trees, and grasses and a well-known culprit when it comes to allergies and asthma. Pollen is present throughout the year, but levels spike each year between March and October.
The number of people with a runny nose is huge – as many as 179 million Americans experience symptoms of allergies. And According to the CDC, The most well-known of these symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, and congestion. Pollen can also cause allergic conjunctivitis, which is the inflammation of the lining of the eye due to exposure to allergens, and trigger asthma episodes.
These symptoms are even worse for the elderly, children and those with respiratory illnesses. Unfortunately, once your allergies are triggered by pollen, inflammation takes over and all your allergies come into play – pets, dust mites, and all the issues you may be able to keep under control most of the time. During pollen season, all bets are off. And in the worst cases, pollen exposure has been linked to asthma attacks and increases in hospital admissions for respiratory illness.
Because of these health effects, the CDC estimates Americans spend more than $3 billion on pollen-related medical costs every year, with nearly half of those costs going toward prescription medicine. As pollen levels rise, so will the associated expenses.
How To Reduce Exposure to Pollen
We all need to be aware of the health challenges pollen season poses, especially if the risk is only going to get worse in the near future. But what should we do?
First steps can include planning outdoor activities around pollen forecasts, reliably taking allergy medication, and showering after being outside to remove pollen from hair and skin. But those measures make an impact only at the individual level.
Homeowners and Property Managers have additional choices and options to promote the wellbeing of their families and communities. The easy way to take steps in the right direction is to FOCUS ON THE AIR THAT YOU BREATHE AT HOME. Toxins are present in the air throughout the year and always need to be addressed, but pollen presents an increased risk during the spring and summer months.
Most people spend more than 50% of their 24-hour day at home. Imagine if during those hours, the air you breathe is PURE and FILTERED. What a relief! Kelliwell Air filters are scientifically proven to remove toxins, airborne COVID and allergens so the air you breather is up to 99% free of contaminants. Our HEPA, MERV, multi-filters are placed out of sight, and run quietly 24/7 to scrub 100% of the indoor air every 60 minutes. Want something more mobile? We have many options for air purification.
Customers who enjoy our air purification system report finding tremendous relief from allergies and our CASE STUDIES on indoor air quality verify that indoor air is greatly improved with filtration. In fact, Kelliwell will always test your indoor air BEFORE and AFTER we install the air filtration system and the results are impressive – our equipment and technology is highly effective.
So the good news is – even if you can’t control what happens when you go outside – YOU CAN CONTROL the quality of the air in your living space. You can enjoy 99% pollen and allergen-free air and give your respiratory system a break. The health benefits of breathing clean air are numerous, including improved conditions for cardiovascular health, cognitive health and of course – respiratory health. And another big bonus – CLEAN AIR has been proven to help you get a better nights sleep.
Kelliwell Wellness Systems are the one-stop-shop for creating a healthier indoor environment for homes, apartments, senior living and hotels. Contact us to find out how easy it is to turn your indoor space into a healthier place.