Each year, we are hearing that this year is the worst allergy season ever. And, there are reasons it keeps getting worse. Pollen levels are increasing, pollen seasons are getting longer, and more people are developing allergies for a number of reasons. For example, this year’s fall allergies will most likely last up to 27 days longer than average in the northernmost parts of North America, extending even into November in some areas, a new study suggests. Both spring and fall allergies tend to cause the same symptoms, such as sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose, but their triggers are different. Spring allergies, which run from February to late July, tend to be brought on by pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. Fall allergies go from mid-August through the first autumn frost, and are chiefly set off by pollen from the ragweed plant, mold, and dust mites.
Spring allergies are now starting sooner, and fall allergies are ending later, thanks to global warming, says Jeffrey G. Demain, M.D., director of the Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center of Alaska. These temperature changes kick-start pollen production, boost the amount of pollen each plant generates, and also make the pollen more potent. Demain says that, “There’s more allergen now in each grain than there used to be.” And, pollen isn’t the only allergen on the rise. Warmer temperatures mean more moisture in the air, which creates mold. Further, this increases not just the growth of mold but also its spore production—which is how mold distributes allergens—both indoors and out.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the number of Americans with allergies is two to five times higher now than it was about 30 years ago. Reasons for the increase in people developing allergies include use of antibacterial products which makes our immune systems quicker to overreact to otherwise harmless substances like pollen. Also, our modern diet is hurting us. Today’s processed, preserved, chemical laden foods lack the nutrition and tough fibers that keep the delicate balance of bacteria in our guts healthy. Most of what is consumed as food is so processed that, many times, it is not even recog-nized by the body as food, and this upsets the balance of the digestive system, setting us up for allergic sensitivity. Studies are also showing that use of antibiotics, which disrupts the healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, has increased along with allergies. The good news is that by helping your body find the right balance, you can overcome “the worst allergy season ever” and be sniffle and sneeze free. Continue reading for natural solutions.