If you suffer with seasonal allergies, you may have noticed they’re worse than usual this year, and it’s not just in your head.
According to recent research and forecasting, 2021 is shaping up to be a brutal allergy year, just like 2020, 2019, and 2018 were before it. The length and intensity of pollen seasons are growing, in large part due to climate change. Experts say if the planet keeps warming up, miserable allergies will likely be the norm. Between 1990 and 2018, pollen concentrations in North America increased by 21 percent.
Other factors can also contribute to making airborne pollen even more volatile. Internist and immunologist Dr. Tana Elliott explains, “Pollution like diesel exhaust and nitrogen oxide can lead to the creation of super pollen and very irritating air that triggers sneeze and mucus production. Pollen can bind to diesel exhaust and it becomes super pollen—traveling longer distances and being bigger—making it a more potent allergen.” Some experts even say that because we spent most of the last year indoors, we had less exposure to allergens, and so any tolerance we built up in previous years may have waned slightly.