The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s annual ranking of the worst cities for people with spring allergies is out, and once again, the Southeastern United States appears to fare worst, thanks to a combination of warm weather and pollen counts.
Although this year’s pollen is largely off to a slow start, thanks to a cold spring across much of the Midwest and Eastern United States, overall, it’s set to be one of the worst ever.
“There’s been a delay in the early allergy season because of the cold weather, but that can cause a double whammy [later in the season],” Dr. Bassett said. Pollen is now predicted to pop up just as late spring and summer grasses emerge, creating twice the misery for people with allergies.
Rising allergy misery is a trend that’s set to continue, thanks to climate change, Dr. Bassett said. First of the all, the season lasts longer; fall allergy season extends as much as four weeks past the pattern of a few decades ago, he said. “The pollen is also directly affected by greenhouse gases,” Dr. Bassett said, noting that studies have shown that rising CO2 levels cause plants to produce more pollen, and pollen that’s more potent than ever before.
“It’s a double whammy — longer pollen season, as well as the fact that the pollen itself may be more super-charged,” Dr. Bassett said.
Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York and an ambassador for the AAFA,