Is El Niño Making Your Allergies Worse?
Did your springtime itchy eyes, stuffy nose and scratchy throat seem to start earlier this year, and hang around longer? You’re not alone.
Experts say the El Niño weather pattern does have an effect on the timing and severity of seasonal allergies. And this year, allergy season started earlier and has been more intense in many parts of the United States because of the wet winter following several years of drought.
If tree and grass pollen have you red-eyed and miserable, you may want to see your doctor for a professional opinion. In the meantime, try to reduce the amount of pollen you come into contact with by:
- wearing sunglasses during the daytime (your ophthalmologist thinks you should be doing this anyway to protect your eyes from UV light);
- closing your windows, especially on windy days;
- washing your face and hands after being outside;
- and—if appropriate for you—taking over-the-counter antihistamine medication to reduce symptoms.
Check the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s annual list of the worst U.S. cities for allergies to see where your hometown ranks. And get the current pollen count for your area with the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology’s pollen count portal.