It appears that El Niño will affect us more than we previously thought. Experts believe that the phenomenon will bring more pollen and thus an earlier allergy season that is also expected to be more intense.
The best example is the city of Sacramento, where sporadic storms caused by El Niño have overfed the plants. The warm weather that followed produced greater amounts of pollen to be released, in addition to the lush and green plants. This has led to many people being affected by throat and nose irritation.
After four years of a poor growth of green, Sacramento has recorded a rise with twenty percent in its spore count. Last February, the city was the target of several storms which were followed by an increase in temperatures. As Dr. Travis Miller has stated, increased amounts of rain have also determined an increased amount of biomass, otherwise known as the green carbon system of weeds, grasses and flowering plants. He has further explained that
“Once the sun comes out, and spring temperatures hit the 50- to 70-degree range with a little bit of wind, the trees, grasses and flowers let go of their pollen and hope that it will spore.”
Dr. Miller has also reported that his patients have started showing allergic symptoms since the second week of February. This is earlier than normal since the allergy season begins in March.
This year’s El Niño season is the strongest we have experienced since 1998, famously dubbed the “Millenium drought”. In the current context of this weather pattern, the seasons can last even two weeks longer than expected. As a result, those suffering from headaches, nasal drainage, shortness of breath and sore throats will have to endure a longer period of time this year.
Sacramento, the “city of trees”, is the most affected city as about 36 percent of its resident are suffering from ragweed or mold allergies. According to the Quest Diagnostics clinical lab service, only twenty percent of the population nationwide is allergic.
Doctors recommend allergic persons to spend as little time outside as possible during dry, breezy and warm days but also take allergy medications which will greatly diminish the symptoms. One of the newer forms of treatment is the sublingual immunotherapy, according to Allegheny Health Network’s Dr. David Skoner. This therapy is very effective in patients with grass or ragweed allergies if it starts twelve weeks before the beginning of the season.
Image Source: Allergy Zone