With the climate changing and the weather feeling all over the place, we can forget the affect it could be having on us. But could climate change actually be making your allergies worse? Platinum investigates.
Allergies like hay fever are caused by high pollen count, making our eyes water, nose run and generally make us feel groggy. The wind can carry pollen for hundreds of miles due to its light nature. The result? It’s everywhere. Including on your eyes, nose and even your lungs. What’s more, pollen can trigger asthma attacks, making your chest tight and can cause difficulty breathing.
The UK government said
“the UK is facing a threat from changes in the geographical distribution of allergenic plants, due to climate change, with invasive species such as ambrosia (common ragweed) being on the watch list. A single ragweed plant can produce a billion grains of pollen per season and its pollen causes strong allergic reactions.”
Warmer weather increases the spread of ragweed pollen, which can cause extended periods of hay fever season into autumn. And last year, researchers from the University of Leicester recorded airborne ragweed pollen levels in the East Midlands high enough to cause significant hay fever attacks.
The UK government have also reported that it could be possible that climate change ‘will lead to changes in the potency of pollen’ which means pollen may become stronger, causing more reactions. Rising temperatures fuelled by carbon dioxide can also cause the pollen season to last between 13 and 27 days longer than normal, meaning a longer allergy period for sufferers.
All that’s been done is the gathering information and data as the government want medical groups to create better systems to inform the public. Primarily when pollen levels are high enough to cause reactions or asthma attacks, helping sufferers be more prepared.
In good news, there are now apps you can get on your phone which will help give individual forecasts on pollen counts each day.
This can help advise you on how high the pollen count is and what effects it may have on you. Try My Pollen Forecast UK, which can give you daily pollen forecasts, as well as logging your symptoms for future readings specially tailored to you.