For the over 40 million Americans that suffer from environmental allergies of one type or another, the winter brings welcome relief. While the cold is not always a welcome breath of fresh air for many, for allergy sufferers the cold of the winter can provide some relief for the symptoms that may otherwise find them with a running nose, constant sneezing, itchy eyes, watery eyes, and other such symptoms of allergies. However, this year, most parts of the U.S. have enjoyed a relatively mild winter season (sorry Alaska) and while the lack of severe cold and snow is always a bonus, it also means that the allergy season is already starting for many, and that it could go on for quite some time.
Allergists and pharmacists around the country report that many of their patients tell them that their symptoms are already starting and it’s on February. They say that they are waking up sneezing, at first thinking that perhaps they have contracted a nasty winter cold, but they realizing that it is their allergies come back for an early visit. Scientists say that the mild temperatures across the U.S. are the reason underlying the increase in allergic symptoms being experienced by so many Americans so early in the season.
A recent study in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Science shows that the ragweed season in the United States is now almost 27 days longer than it was in 1995, with most of that increase attributed to the warmer climate. Another study conducted on allergy symptoms by another leading research organization found that from 1981 to 2007 there was an increase in the length of the pollen season due mainly to a longer season because of later and later frost.
And its not just the allergy sufferers that have to be on guard. Doctors say that as the duration of an allergy season drags on longer and longer, everyone is exposed to higher levels of pollen for longer periods of time and as such many more people can start to become allergic to pollen and other allergy triggers where as they never experienced any symptoms in years prior.
I’ve been sneezing like crazy all winter and I thought it was just because I am allergic to dust. I’m going to take precautions and get my meds early this year and if necessary, get a shot of cortisone before I am a sneezing, wheezing, sniffling mess.