This Allergy Season Is Earlier, Longer, and More Intense Than Normal, New Report Says

Moderate winters and early springs give plants more time to flower and release pollen—which means you'll be sneezing for longer.

Although many people look forward to warm weather, one thing no one is excited for is allergy season. As flowers begin to bloom, pollen can cause itchiness, watery eyes, a runny nose, and congestion. But if these symptoms feel worse than usual this year, you're not alone. According to a new report, we're expected to experience an earlier, longer, and more intense allergy season in 2023.

The report, which was published by Climate Central, found that the length of time people are suffering from allergies has increased over time. On average, allergy season has gone up by 15 days across over 200 cities between 1970 and 2021. What's more, the USA National Phenology Network found that the first leaves and blooms of spring are arriving days to weeks early in parts of the United States.

spring pollen coming from trees


A growing body of research has found that warming temperatures, shifting seasonal patterns, and more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have affected the length and intensity of allergy season, the report notes. Earlier springs and longer periods of freeze-free days give plants more time to flower and release pollen. In fact, a recent study found that pollen seasons in the U.S. have lengthened by 20 days on average, with a 21 percent increase in pollen concentrations.

According to Climate Central, 85 percent of the 200 cities included in the report saw their freeze-free seasons lengthen. In 31 cities, the season between the last and first freeze grew by at least a month. The most drastic change is in Reno, Nev., where the growing season increased by 99 days.

So, what does that mean for the 26 percent of adults and 19 percent of children in the U.S. that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report suffer from seasonal allergies? Beyond taking allergy medication, Climate Central recommends reducing your exposure to pollen when it's at its peak outdoors. Check your local air quality reports and allergen forecasts before going outside, and keep your windows and doors closed to prevent pollen from entering your home.

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