Video: Allergy Season in the City, a Growing Nuisance in the Age of Climate Change

Allergy season is getting longer in New York City.

As spring blooms throughout New York City, it brings with it an unwelcome visitor for many residents – seasonal allergies. Morgan Goldin, a Brooklyn local, experiences sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and even difficulty breathing due to this yearly onslaught. The culprit? Trees and plants releasing pollen into the air, triggering a wave of allergy symptoms across the city.

“Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an annual cost in excess of $18 billion. More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Moreover, experts say that the allergy season in the city is getting longer each year, a trend that is attributed to climate change. Hannah Jaffee, Research Manager at Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America said that as temperatures rise, trees and other plants are blooming earlier and for longer periods, increasing the amount of time during which people may experience allergies.

“I feel like it lasts longer, and it gets more intense. It was like that consistently since moving to New York, and that’s just because of the trees they planted. But honestly, since the pandemic, that first year, I didn’t go out as much so I did have a bad allergy attack in 2020. But the next year in 2021 was even worse, when I started going out more and it just felt like nothing I took helped. I was taking all the over the counter medications like Claritin and Zyrtec but it wasn’t really having an effect,” said Goldin.

Goldin has found some relief by wearing a mask when he goes outside, as well as by trying different medications and taking them early in the morning before symptoms appear.

Sharon Yee, a physician that specializes in allergy and immunology at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers Upper West Side, says there are steps that allergy sufferers can take to manage their symptoms. These include staying indoors during peak pollen times, keeping windows closed, and using air purifiers.

It’s important to note that while allergy symptoms may be similar to those of Covid-19, there are some key differences. Covid-19 symptoms typically include fever and loss of taste or smell, while allergies are characterized by sneezing, itching, and congestion.

As allergy season continues in New York City, Yee advises residents to take precautions and seek medical advice if necessary.

About the author(s)

Yana Mulder, a Russian-born aspiring actor, is currently studying in a part-time journalism program.