Allergy & Air on December 11, 2013 0 Comments One of the most significant challenges that allergy sufferers face on a daily basis is the threat of environmental irritants. Pollen, dust, and other fine particles may trigger a myriad of allergy symptoms, many of which can inhibit your ability to carry out normal activities and even diminish your quality of life. Climate change, such as global warming concerns, has the potential to exacerbate allergies in a wide variety of ways. This guide will offer an in-depth look at how climate change is affecting allergies, as well as tips on how to prevent allergy symptoms that are caused by environmental irritants. The Negative Effects of Climate Change for Allergy Sufferers: Now and in the Future Climate change has the potential to increase smog pollution and exacerbate pollen allergies, as well as worsen asthma symptoms. The hotter conditions caused by global warming also directly affect air quality, making it unsafe for allergy sufferers to venture outside during poor air days. In fact, some studies have shown that pollen allergy and asthma has become more prevalent, on a worldwide scale, in recent years. This is primarily attributed to climate change. As a result of this gradual change in weather patterns, temperatures, and the general climate, seasonal allergies are typically starting earlier in the year and are lasting longer. One of the most significant drawbacks of climate change is an increased production of carbon dioxide. These elevated levels of CO2 lead to an abundance of ragweed, which is one of the most common pollen allergens. This weed is also known to be a trigger for asthma sufferers. The rise in carbon dioxide emissions and temperatures can boost the allergenicity of mold spores, as well. These every-rising global temperatures also lead to an increase in ozone smog and fine particles at the ground-level. This may trigger a variety of symptoms, such as chest pain, lung inflammation, and coughing, just to name a few. This byproduct of climate change can inhibit lung function, as well, making it more difficult to breathe. This is particularly problematic for those who experience asthma attacks. Extreme weather that is often caused by global warming, such as drought or an over-abundance of precipitation, may also present challenges for allergy sufferers. While drought caused by climate change results in an increased production of dust particles, excessive or unseasonable precipitation can lead to an overproduction of mold spores. Tips for Preventing Allergy Symptoms Caused by Environmental Irritants There are a number of things that you can do to minimize the impact that climate change has upon your allergy symptoms. Here are four tips to help your prevent the symptoms of allergies from affecting your health. Limiting your number of outside activities This is particularly true for days wherein the air quality may be especially poor. If you do have to venture outside to run errands on these days, try to do so in the late afternoon, as this is the time of day when pollen levels are typically lower. Another ideal time to do outdoor activities is after a heavy rain. Be sure to keep an eye on your local weather report, as meteorologists often report the levels of different allergens in the air. Use an air purifier when at home By using an air purifier in your home, you are removing a great deal of airborne irritants, such as pollen and dust, that threaten to trigger your allergy symptoms. Also, when driving in your car, keep the windows rolled up and air conditioner on, if possible, to reduce outside allergens. Insure that your home is kept mold-free Climate changes also has the ability to impact those who suffer from mold allergies. As such, it’s important to reduce the presence of mold in your home by having it thoroughly inspected, using mold resistant paint, and/or insuring that all mold-prone surfaces are kept dry. Any area of your home that is dark, damp, and warm is a breeding ground for mold, such as the area underneath your bathroom sink. You may also want to have some beneficial houseplants, like English ivy, in your home. Avoid yard work or gardening To prevent allergy symptoms, it may be wise to limit the amount of yard work and gardening you do. Raking leaves or mowing the lawn, may just exasperate your symptoms. If you cannot put off doing the yard work for any longer, then we would recommend wearing a breathing mask when gardening or opt to do it on a cooler afternoon. Who’s at Risk? Young children and the elderly who have allergies are at a higher risk of being affected by allergies related to climate change. However, allergy sufferers of any age group should take the necessary precautions to limit their exposure to environmental allergens. If you notice that your allergy symptoms are becoming more frequent or severe, it’s best to speak with your doctor about potential options that may help to minimize or eliminate reactions you may be experiencing.