Seasonal allergies affect nearly 60 million people in the U.S. each year. All across the country, factors such as climate change and dry spells have largely contributed to an increase in pollen counts and allergy cases this year.
In a recent survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Tivic Health, two-thirds of respondents said their allergy symptoms have worsened over the years, including 75% of those in the Northeast. Overall, more than half attribute this to increased indoor and outdoor pollution (58%) and rising temperatures (56%).
This fall, with fewer Covid-19 restrictions now in place globally, medical experts are seeing evidence that there will be an uptick in fall allergies and flu cases.
According to Dr. Alan Goldsobel, at Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California, “There is anticipation that there will be a booming fall allergy season, both from ongoing global warming causing earlier and higher pollen counts, as well as many people now masking much less. Warmer temperatures cause plants to pollinate much earlier, thus causing more symptoms among allergy sufferers.”
And just this summer, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported an increase in flu cases in the Southern Hemisphere – Australia, in particular, experienced its worst flu season in five years. Historically, flu trends in the Southern Hemisphere are a seasonal harbinger for the U.S., so if this continues to hold true, the U.S. may be in for a severe flu season this year.
According to infectious disease specialists at the Mayo Clinic, since the pandemic, our lack of exposure to flu viruses over the past two flu seasons may be problematic as our immune systems don’t “remember” the virus and how to attack it.
How will this impact people’s lifestyles?
The same survey revealed that nearly 70% of allergy sufferers have trouble enjoying the fall season due to their allergies. People’s seasonal allergies prevent them from being fully engaged in outdoor activities such as hiking and fall-themed photo shoots (56%), outdoor events such as a hayride or turkey trot (52%), and yard work (49%).
Additionally, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a lasting impact on the workforce, with more people exercising the option of working from home when they are sick and no longer feeling shunned by their coworkers for doing so.
What are some ways to cope with fall allergies and flu symptoms?
Dr. Goldsobel continues, “Avoidance can only go so far. It’s nice to be outdoors in early fall. There are no new prescription or over-the-counter medications available. And while immunotherapy (allergy shots) can be extremely helpful, patients must start treatment long before the season begins.
“For nasal congestion, sinus headache, or sinus pain from allergies, try ClearUP – a clinically proven, drug-free, non-invasive device that provides rapid relief. It’s a new form of treatment that uses safe neuromodulation as a way to address patient needs.
“The best protection against the flu is to get a flu vaccine. This reduces the risk of hospitalization and death due to influenza, especially among high-risk groups including young children, older people, and those with certain medical conditions.”