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How Climate Change Affects Allergy Seasons


HOUSTON – We all recognize the symptoms of pesky allergies. Sneezing and itching, watery eyes.

For some people, allergies can be debilitating. For others, the seasonal discomfort.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum, experts say climate change is contributing to warming temperatures, which impacts the allergy seasons.

KPRC 2 chief meteorologist Frank Billingsley said local data shows temperatures are tending to warm.

Fall temperatures on average tend to be warmer. (KPRC-TV)

“Much of this has to do with global warming and rising temperatures,” said Brent Moon, director of horticulture at the Houston Botanic Garden. “We have warmed up, which extends the seasons on both sides. “

This means that the spring allergy season starts earlier and the fall season can be extended.

“If you have a longer fall, you can have an extended ragweed season, and at the same time, you can have an earlier start to cedar allergy season,” said Fran de la Mota, manager. horticulture at the Houston Botanic Garden.

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Ragweed and cedar are both “vicious” allergens, according to Dr. David Corry, professor of medicine-immunology, allergy and rheumatology at Baylor College of Medicine. He said the data is the strongest on how ragweed, a fall allergen, is affected by climate change in terms of season abundance and length.

Cedar picks up in the winter, leaving very little time for people to avoid allergens.

“If we don’t cool down sooner, it just prolongs the growing season,” Moon said in reference to the fall pollen. “Until we get a good frost, the plants tend to keep flowering.”

What can you do?

Dr Corry said allergists see more patients or affected patients for longer periods of time.

“The pollen in the air seems to be more prevalent and the season may also start earlier,” said Dr Corry.

There are several treatments to help you manage the symptoms:

  1. Antihistamines: Talk to your doctor about what might work for you.

  2. Immunotherapy injections: This treatment is curative or could at least make severe allergy symptoms more manageable, according to Dr Curry

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