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Feeling Itchy, Columbus? Here’s Why Allergies Are Worse Than Ever

If you’ve been sneezing more than usual this spring in Columbus, Ohio, you’re definitely not alone.

There seems to be a perfect storm (of pollen, that is) making our allergy symptoms more intense than ever before. Here’s why residents in the Buckeye State might feel like their noses are running a marathon:

Early Bird Gets the… Pollen?

Thanks to an unusually warm start to spring, allergy season kicked off earlier than expected. With trees in full pollen-dumping mode by April, those pesky allergy symptoms like runny noses and scratchy throats got a head start too, catching many of us off guard.

leaf index anomaly map
This map depicts where springtime biological activity began earlier than average (red tones) and later than average (blue tones) this year. We can expect an earlier start to the pollen season in regions experiencing an earlier than normal start to spring.

Tree Pollen is Going Bananas

The main culprit? Tree pollen. Columbus has been hit with a ‘very high’ pollen count this year, mainly due to the flurry of activity from our leafy friends. Trees like to make their presence felt by releasing fine pollen into the air, which, thanks to its aerodynamic nature, finds its way into our nostrils and onto our misery list.

Climate Change is No Spring Chicken

The elephant in the room – or perhaps the pollen cloud in the sky – is climate change. Milder winters and hotter springs are no longer a once-in-a-blue-moon scenario but the new norm. This means plants have more time to produce pollen, and they’re starting earlier and finishing later, which equals a longer season of sniffles.

Rising Allergen Army

Experts are noticing not just an increase in pollen but also in its potency. Environmental factors such as higher temperatures are helping pollen thrive and become more aggressive, meaning even traditionally milder months can now pack a punch in the allergy department.

why pollen makes us sneeze

Economic Sneezes

Think allergies are just a personal torment? Think again. The economic impact is nothing to sneeze at, with lost productivity and increased healthcare costs. Whether it’s taking days off work or just being less productive while at work, allergies are costing us big time.

Treatment Tips: Better Safe than Snotty

To combat these ruthless allergens, experts recommend some proactive measures. Keep those windows shut, folks! Use air purifiers, check daily pollen forecasts, and consider starting allergy medications before symptoms kick in. If over-the-counter solutions don’t cut it, it might be time to see a specialist. There’s also growing advice to consider the types of plants in your landscaping to reduce allergen exposure.

So, while Columbus might not be winning any awards for ‘Best Place to Breathe Easy’ this spring, understanding the reasons behind our misery and taking proactive steps might just help us get through this sneezy season a bit more comfortably. And remember, you’re not alone in your sniffles – there’s a whole city out there sharing in your tissue-filled pain.

Featured image by freestocks on Unsplash