A study a year ago from different researchers found that from 1990 to 2018, pollen has increased and allergy season is starting earlier, with much of it because of climate change.
The new study found that allergy season would stretch even longer and the total amount of pollen would skyrocket. How long and how much depends on the particular pollen and the location. Wind-driven pollen, which plays an important role in plant fertilization, is closely tied to temperature and precipitation changes. So as spring seasons get warmer earlier due to climate change, plants could pollinate much earlier and for a longer period of time than they currently do.
Climate change also impacts the number of winter chill hours and spring frost-free days, which then affects the timing and duration of pollen season. In the future, though, different tree pollen varieties that once varied in timing will eventually overlap with each other, leading to overall higher concentrations that threaten public health.
the trends of longer and more severe pollen seasons are likely to continue, driven by climate change, and this will absolutely have substantial health consequences in allergies and asthma for Americans.”
We think of allergies as stuffy noses and itchy eyes, but it also underlies asthma, which is a more serious condition. People will probably feel worse and need more medication as time goes on, and more people will likely become allergic to pollen as well.
A longer and earlier start to pollen season could trigger a public health emergency, researchers say. More than 24 million people in the US experience pollen-induced respiratory allergies or hay fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While more research is needed in determining larger socioeconomic implications, Steiner said this could result in a large economic loss due to missed work, school days, medical expenses, and early deaths.