Article by Barbara Stepko, AARP

“Yep, it’s spring. Time to lose the layers and pack away the snow shovels for another year. For some of us, though, the milder months come with their own challenge — allergies. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology estimates that each year 50 million people in the United States experience symptoms from allergies, many of them related to seasonal allergens such as pollen. Pollen-packed days can do a number on our breathing, leaving noses dripping, sinuses congested and lungs begging for mercy. But eyes can also feel the discomfort, with symptoms that include redness, itchiness, swelling and watery discharge.

Making things worse: the trend toward warmer temperatures year-round. That means pollen seasons start sooner and last longer. A 2014 Rutgers University study found that between 2001 and 2010, pollen season in the contiguous U.S. started, on average, three days earlier than it did in the 1990s.
We’re also seeing more plant growth and pollen production — whether from trees in the spring, grass in the summer or ragweed in the fall. According to the Rutgers study, annual totals of airborne pollen have increased by a whopping 40 percent.
But there are ways to fight back.”

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