If you’re like me, spring means one thing - hay fever season, and this year will be especially rough.
The allergy season has well and truly begun, announcing itself far earlier than it has in previous years.
It’s all part of an ongoing trend linked back to the effects of climate change. Increased temperatures and more variable rainfall has changed pollen production.
Not only will allergy season start earlier, but even more concerning for those who sniffle and sneeze is that pollen production is expected to rise. Pollen will be stronger and longer lasting due to increased levels of carbon dioxide.
So, what does this mean for the average hay fever sufferer like me? In short, the symptoms that we suffer through each year are expected to intensify.
Whether it’s difficulty breathing, itchy eyes or a runny nose, we should expect more of the same - only worse.
It’s an expensive problem to have. There’s no end of tablets, sprays and over-the-counter medications available and treatment can cost, on average, about $50 a month.
Of most concern to doctors is that hay fever can aggravate asthma, increasing risk of an attack.
During last year’s epidemic thunderstorm asthma event, emergency services received more than 1900 calls for help within a single night from people suffering respiratory problems.
Thankfully, those events are rare. What’s common is hay fever itself – one in five of us experience the symptoms according to Asthma Australia.
It can be a miserable feeling, and for some things get so bad they can’t work or study as normal.
But, if it’s any small comfort, over the coming years there’ll be more and more people in the same boat at spring time ready to lend a tissue.
Cara Dowe is a hay fever sufferer.