The sights and sounds of autumn. The colorful leaves, the brisk air … and college football! It’s a wonderful time of year … unless you have allergies. Then autumn stirs up worries about ragweed and moldy leaves.

In Connecticut, Danielle Lapan is one of more than thirty-million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies. Danielle says she’s sneezing, coughing, and using her asthma inhaler more than ever before.

LAPAN: “My allergies in the last two years have gotten significantly worse, this year being the worst it’s ever been. It started earlier. It’s lasting longer. Medicine that used to work doesn’t seem to be helping as much.”

Danielle is not the only one who has noticed this trend. Scientists at Rutgers University have found that climate change is linked to an increase in allergies and asthma.

As the climate changes, the blooming season for plants like ragweed is getting longer and the amount of pollen they produce is increasing. In fact, it’s expected to more than double in the next thirty years.

Pollen is carried on the wind and can collect on anything such as hair, laundry, or pet fur. Washing your hair, drying laundry thoroughly, and keeping pets off the furniture can help reduce allergic reactions.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

More Resources
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Climate Change and Allergic Disease, by Leonard Bielory, Kevin Lyons, Robert Goldberg in Current Allergy and Asthma Reports December 2012, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 485-494.
Q&A with Leonary Bielory
2013 Allergy Season Could Be The Worst Ever, Thanks To Climate Change, Some Experts Say, Huffington Post (references to allergies impact on quality of life)

Diana Madson contributed regularly to Yale Climate Connections from 2014 to 2021. She enjoys exploring U.S.-based stories about unexpected and innovative solutions to climate change. In addition to her...