PHOENIX — As many as 60 million people suffer from seasonal allergies in the United States according to the CDC. Now, a new study is forecasting allergy season to get worse around the country and in Arizona.
The new research is from the Journal Nature Communications. It predicts our annual pollen emission could increase up to 40 percent yearly and up to 200 percent by the end of the century.
That’s because of rising carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, which is ramping up pollen production. Dr. Julie Wendt, a Valley allergist immunologist, said research leads her to believe allergy symptoms will become more common locally.
“More morbidity from it like sinus infections and chronic headaches and things that take more to solve than just the usual, you treat it yourself at home," Dr. Wendt said.
Dr. Wendt said symptoms that are expected to get worse are runny nose, congestion, headaches and fatigue. She added, the worst allergy season in the Valley is spring, followed by the fall.
The plants causing the worst trouble this time of year are Mesquite and Palo Verde trees, plus Bermuda grass and spring weeds.
In the high country, pine is a big allergy producer. Dr. Wendt said models show climate change and warming temperatures, project to increase the pollen emissions up north too.
Dr. Wendt said these changes are gradual and we’ll notice the affects of worsening allergies slowly, year after year.
She recommended all of the usual precautions to avoid allergies, like taking off your shoes indoors, showering at night and keeping doors and windows closed. Check in with a medical professional to find out if it’s allergies or something else.
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