Forecast grim for allergy sufferers in 2020

Experts believe that the 2020 allergy season will be particularly severe, and climate change may be one of the reasons.

Rising average temperatures driven by climate change can cause earlier springs, which bring increases in pollen levels and longer pollen seasons, according to a May 20, 2020 Elemental article. In addition, CO2 pumped into the air from the burning of fossil fuels can act as a fertilizer, prompting plants to produce more pollen.

It’s not just areas with lots of green space that will see worsened allergies from hotter temperatures, noted Aaron Bernstein, interim director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (Harvard C-CHANGE) at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “In cities, CO2 levels can be up to 30% higher and temperatures can be 3 degrees warmer. Pavement and dark roofs can create urban heat islands,” Bernstein said. “There is [also] some evidence that particles that are created through diesel exhaust may serve as vehicles to get pollen deeper into our lungs.”

Read the Elemental article: Get Ready for the Worst Allergy Season We’ve Ever Had