Climate change affects people with allergies

It’s World Allergy Week – so let’s get down to some serious business. We all know burning coal and oil, and clearing forests cause climate change. Due to the rise in temperature and water levels, animals will become extinct, we’ll lose the Great Barrier Reef, AND our hayfever will get worse.

While there are a number of reasons why allergies are increasing one of the reasons is climate change. This is because pollutant gases are producing more grass pollen. Grass pollen is one of the most common triggers for hayfever sufferers.

Research shows if there is twice the amount of C02 in the atmosphere, there could be three times more grass pollen. With the increase in carbon dioxide and air temperature it is expected that climate change will cause pollen season to start earlier and be prolonged.

The increase in temperature will cause a wider distribution of allergenic plants across areas, and spread the triggers that cause people to get allergies.

Just imagine suffering with watery, itchy eyes, and a runny, blocked nose for most of the year. So what can we do to help? Change is a lengthy process. First, it involves awareness, education, action and finally prevention. Now that you are aware and educated, these are 2 things you can start with to help reduce climate change (and to help hayfever sufferers):

  1. Consider your everyday actions

Energy tips: Switch off the lights when you can, unplug household electronics when unused, avoid using the clothes dryer and hang your clothes instead.

Food tips: Try to buy organic food or grow your own. Minimise the amount of meat and dairy products you eat.

Waste tips: Recycle your plastic and consider composting food scraps and garden trimmings. Put your garbage into the right bins.

Travel tips: Fly less and try to catch public transport or carpool.

  1. See a doctor

Although there is no cure for hayfever, the good news is there are medications that can provide relief. This can include taking daily medication in the form of tablets and nasal sprays. However, there is also the option for immunotherapy for more severe cases. To find out what treatment is best for you, visit the doctor. Recording where and when you experience symptoms by using a diary can help your doctor establish the triggers that you should avoid. The doctor may refer you to an allergist or another specialist if necessary.

We understand that we are just little pieces to a bigger puzzle, but just remember every action will count.

(Photo credit: by Alfonso Romero)