New Orleans Coroner, Dr. Dwight McKenna, says changes in our climate are affecting pollen
counts, pollen sources, even the spread of plants, and as a result, allergies are more frequent
and more severe.
So, no, its not just your imagination: your allergies are getting worse. Dr. McKenna says,
compared with 1990, pollen season today kicks off 20 days earlier and sticks around eight
days longer, according to a 2021 study. Also, sneezing season is more severe: Plants, grasses
and trees spew 21% more pollen than they did 30 years ago.
Experts say we need to slow the cycle because if we don’t, and current trends continue,
concentrations of ragweed and grass pollen will continue to significantly rise over the next 40-
years. McKenna says this will be bad for everyone who suffers from allergies.
Also, consider this: as people age, allergy symptoms tend to decline as our immune systems
become less reactive with age. But our changing climate is robbing us of this natural
Right now, about 17% of adults age 65-plus have been treated for hay fever, according to a
2019 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though there is evidence it is
underrecognized and undertreated in those over age 60.