You're suffering and have all the symptoms of allergies : sneezing, itching, runny nose, watery eyes. But you're definitely sure your allergies weren't this bad a decade ago. You haven't moved, and in fact, were born and raised in Chicago. You're not just imagining it; allergies in this particular area really are getting worse. But this doesn't mean you have to keep suffering through them.
Wondering why your Chicago allergies are getting worse? We'll tell you why, plus give you tips on how to alleviate the worst symptoms.
A study was done in a span of 10 years, across 17 cities in North America, Europe, and Asia; 3 were in the United States, and 2 were in Canada. Although Chicago wasn't selected as part of the study, Minneapolis was, which is closeby. The study found that from 1995 to 2015, pollen seasons lengthened dramatically in 12 of the locations. 11 of them had increases of 0.9 days per year.
The scientists who conducted this study believed longer pollen seasons were a direct effect of global warming. They noted temperature extremes increased; plants flower based on the outside temperatures, which meant there was a correlation between changing weather and longer pollen seasons.
There are two more reasons why Chicago allergies are getting worse. The greenhouse effect is causing plants to grow faster and bigger, which means more pollen is being produced. Also, since the weather stays favorable for longer, not only does this extend the pollen-producing period, but also the growing period.
While many are aware of the health effects global warming has (such as worse air quality, temperature-related deaths, and vector-borne diseases), it probably comes as a surprise that it can affect your allergies as well. When all these factors are added together, one thing is clear: more pollen is being produced, and for a longer amount of time.
Scientists predict that temperatures will rise 2.5 to 10 degrees in the next 100 years. While that may not sound like much, all it takes is a 2-degree change for mountain glaciers and rivers to melt and disappear. Now imagine the dramatic changes to pollen production with a 2-degree change.
In fact, it's predicted that by 2040 , pretty much all types of allergens will double in quantity. This includes ragweed, grass pollen, tree pollen, and molds. As you can guess, this means your allergies will only get worse from here on out.
While you can't do anything about the changing pollen seasons, there are steps you can take to feel better when these tough times happen. Read on to find a few helpful ways to keep your allergies at bay.
Your air filter works hard to keep contaminants and allergens out, and pure air in. But eventually, it'll get clogged up with everything it's kept out. As a result, you may be breathing stale and contaminated air. If you notice your allergies are getting worse, check your air filter first. It's most likely clogged; if you can't see any light filtering through, then it's definitely time to change it.
While most air filters only need to be changed every few months, you may need to do it more often if the weather's been particularly bad lately (such as a nearby forest fire or an extreme pollen season).
As people (and pets) come in and out of your house, they also track things in through their clothes, shoes, fur, and shoes. Short of quarantining everyone in the house, there's nothing you can do to prevent this from happening. What you can do is clean your house regularly. While it may be annoying and time-consuming to do, this can save your respiratory system some major trouble.
Instead of having a huge buildup of dust and pollen for months, there will only be a light layer at the most if you clean every few days.
Fortunately, there are many over-the-counter allergy medications you can take to get some relief from your annoying symptoms. While many in the past had drowsiness as their main symptom, today, the majority of OTC allergy medications are formulated to keep drowsiness away. In general, all you have to do is take 1 every 24 hours and you're good to go.
This may be easier said than done. If you have obligations (like school or work), it may not be a simple task asking for a few days off. And with pollen seasons growing lengthier by the year, this may end up impossible to do. However, you can try asking for some compromises, such as working from home or making up a test later on.
In the worst-case scenario, you'd still go outside, but minimize your exposure to the pollen in the air. For example, instead of biking to work, you'd take the bus. Or, instead of doing yard work today (and kicking up more pollen), do it tomorrow or next week when the pollen forecast is lower.
Immunotherapy is where the doctor introduces small amounts of allergens to your body and increases each "dose" slowly so your body gets used to it. This doesn't always work, and it can take 3 to 6 months to complete. The amount of allergens used is low at first, but the shots (or tablets taken) is frequent. Then, as the amount increases, the frequency of shots (or tablets) decreases.
While your Chicago allergies are indeed getting worse, thankfully, there are ways to alleviate the symptoms and increase your comfort. So don't suffer for another second. Use our advice on coping with allergies to stop the sniffles and improve your quality of life. Need some more help with your allergies? Then book your free consultation at our allergy center now.