The Rise of Spring Allergies: Fact or Fiction?

The Rise of Spring Allergies: Fact or Fiction?      

01 June 2015

The Rise of Spring Allergies: Fact or Fiction?

Several factors determine the severity of allergy season


This year is going to be the worst year yet for spring allergy sufferers – at least that’s what you might hear. While allergies are, in fact, affecting more and more Americans every year, a number of factors predict just how bad the season will be. And just because more people have allergies doesn’t necessarily mean each spring is worse than the last.


A number of factors may influence the severity of the sneezing season and how many will be affected, such as climate changes, the hygiene hypothesis and the priming effect. I’ve included more information in the below press release, courtesy of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).


Reno/Sparks, NV- 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?


“There are many events that can help predict how bothersome the spring allergy season will be,” said allergist Leonard Shapiro, MD & Boris Lokshin, MD. “While it’s true that allergies are on the rise and affecting more Americans than ever, each spring isn’t necessarily worse than the last.”


According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (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.


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.