Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The rise of spring allergies: Fact or fiction?

Date:
March 6, 2014
Source:
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI)
Summary:
The spring 2014 allergy season could be the worst yet, or at least that is what you might hear. Every year is coined as being the worst for allergy sufferers, but are spring allergies really on the rise? "A number of factors, such as weather patterns, predict how intense the spring allergy season will be," said an allergy expert. "While allergies are on the rise, affecting more and more Americans every year, each spring isn't necessarily worse than the last."

The spring 2014 allergy season could be the worst yet, or at least that is what you might hear. Every year is coined as being the worst for allergy sufferers, but are spring allergies really on the rise?

"A number of factors, such as weather patterns, predict how intense the spring allergy season will be," said allergist Michael Foggs, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). "While allergies are on the rise, affecting more and more Americans every year, each spring isn't necessarily worse than the last."

According to ACAAI, 23.6 million Americans were diagnosed with hay fever in the last year. The prevalence of allergies is surging upward, with as many as 30 percent of adults and up to 40 percent of children having at least one allergy.

"With more people being affected by seasonal allergies, it may seem like every year is the worst yet for sufferers," said Dr. Foggs. "But in reality, there might just be more people complaining about symptoms."

Following are factors that influence the severity of allergy season, along with some explanations about why more Americans are being diagnosed with allergies.

• Climate Change - Recent studies have shown pollen levels gradually increase every year. Part of the reason for this is due to the changing climate. The warmer temperatures and mild winters cause plants to begin producing and releasing pollen earlier, making the spring allergy season longer. Rain can promote plant and pollen growth, while wind accompanying rainfall can stir pollen and mold into the air, heightening symptoms. The climate is not only responsible for making the allergy season longer and symptoms more bothersome, but may also be partially to blame for the rise in allergy sufferers.

• Priming Effect - A mild winter can trigger an early release of pollen from trees. Once allergy sufferers are exposed to this early pollen, their immune system is primed to react to the allergens, meaning there will be little relief even if temperatures cool down before spring is in full bloom. This "priming effect" can mean heightened symptoms and a longer sneezing season for sufferers.

• Hygiene Hypothesis - This theory suggests that exposure to bacterial by-products from farm animals, and even dogs, in the first few months of life reduces or delays the onset of allergies and asthma. This may, in part, explain the increasing incidence of allergies worldwide in developed countries.

• Allergy: The New Kleenex - Ever hear someone ask for a Kleenex instead of a tissue? Much like some relate all tissues to Kleenex, many also blame runny noses, sneezing and itchy eyes on allergies, even if they haven't been accurately diagnosed. Increased awareness and public education can make it seem like nearly everyone has an allergy or is getting diagnosed with allergies, but it could be more public perception more than you think.

While many allergy sufferers reach for over-the-counter medications to find relief, it is recommended those who may believe they have allergies see a board-certified allergist. An allergist can perform proper testing to accurately diagnose and treat sufferers so the spring sneezing season doesn't have to be bothersome.

"Over-the-counter medications may work for those with mild symptoms, but they can cause a variety of side effects, such as difficulty concentrating, irritability and sleep disturbances," said Dr. Foggs. "For those with moderate to severe symptoms, treatment may go beyond antihistamines and include allergy shots."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). "The rise of spring allergies: Fact or fiction?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306130050.htm>.
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). (2014, March 6). The rise of spring allergies: Fact or fiction?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306130050.htm
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). "The rise of spring allergies: Fact or fiction?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306130050.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins