You’re Not Imagining This. Your allergies’ severity is increasing.

You’re Not Imagining Spring has arrived, and while I adore most things about the natural world, I’m not a fan of pollen. My eyes burn. I can’t breathe through my nose. First thing in the morning I sneeze. I sneeze right before bed. My spouse sneezes too, therefore he moves away from me to sleep because of the pollen grains stuck to my hair.

Before moving to Middle Tennessee—which isn’t even in the top ten most difficult regions in the nation for allergy sufferers—I was never prone to seasonal allergies. I now use up to three over-the-counter drugs each day, and Fisherman’s Friend lozenges—which function much like my beloved Vicks Vaporous—have become a minor source of dependence for me.

You're Not Imagining This. Your allergies' severity is increasing.

You’re Not Imagining recollections from childhood. Vicks is still around (comedian Wanda Sykes has a great bit on it), but unlike Vicks, Fisherman’s Friend doesn’t let me know ahead of time.

In addition, I consume large amounts of a herbal tea marketed as “congestion relief,” even though I no longer think that relief is achievable. In Middle Tennessee, the once-downslope hill of spring allergies has now grown into an all-year mountain, with massive clouds of ragweed, grass, and tree pollen converging from late February to Thanksgiving.

You’re Not Imagining But springtime makes it worse. I can stand by my back door and watch a white pine like this one shooting out waves of pollen that remind me of the crop-duster scene in

“North by Northwest.” My spectacles get covered in pollen both inside and out in the spring. My little red Nissan Leaf appears to be an orange leaf in the spring, and our back deck’s gray boards appear to have grown a layer of fresh moss.

A nice, heavy downpour is the only thing that can make any of it better, but even then, the relief it brings is fleeting. Many trees, grasses, and other plants have longer flowering seasons when there is more rainfall. (The majority of wildflowers are pollinated by insects, making them less likely to trigger allergies; but, some, like ragweed, are wind-pollinated, meaning their pollen is literally thrown to the winds and onto people’s faces.) In turn, a longer blooming season enables plants to generate more pollen.

You're Not Imagining This. Your allergies' severity is increasing.

You’re Not Imagining Although seasonal allergies are nothing new, they have been getting worse as the temperature has risen. The growing season now begins earlier, on average 20 days sooner in North America, and lasts longer, increasing the amount of time that plants are releasing pollen into the atmosphere. And the suffering that follows is caused by more than just the fact that there is more pollen to breathe in or that the seasons are lasting longer. According to at least one study, the potency of the pollen increases with the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

Article Source NY Times  

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