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Climate change could be making allergy season worse in San Luis Obispo county

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Posted at 10:45 PM, May 27, 2021

As more people are getting outside, a lot are feeling the return of seasonal allergies. And pollen levels have been high recently due to the dryer than normal weather.

But there’s more science to that.

“What climate change is doing - it’s starting our seasons at different times. So our Spring season, allergy season, is starting earlier and actually it’s kind of even lasting longer,” said KSBY Chief Meterologist Dave Hovde.

Hovde says climate change has lengthened the time for plants’ growing seasons. And they’re producing more pollen and allergens.

According to PollenLibrary.com, in San Luis Obispo County, there are nearly 17- different types of pollen at play. So, different areas of the Central Coast affect allergy symptoms differently.

“At the Coast, we get the kind of mold type things we have to deal with. With the inland areas, we get dust. We get weeds. We get the tree pollens,” said Hovde.

Allergy, asthma and immunology specialist, Dr. Janet Kershaw-Mclennan, says she’s seeing many common allergy symptoms like itching eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion, fatigue and asthma symptoms.

It’s also important to not confuse allergy symptoms with COVID-19 symptoms, as both are prevalent issues in the community.

“Having a runny nose and congestion, even losing sense of smell can happen with allergies. So we know of those as potential Covid symptoms. The main difference is people with allergies have itching,” said allergy, asthma and immunology specialist Dr. Vincent Tubiolo.

But one thing that symptoms from allergies and the coronavirus have in common is that doctors say masks do help.

“It is still socially acceptable to wear a mask outside if you really want to experience the pleasure of being outside and you’re concerned about the pollen and mold allergy,” said Dr. Tubiolo.

Central Coast allergists advised that those with allergies start with over-the-counter remedies like antihistamines and nasal sprays. If allergy symptoms persist, they even recommend allergy shots.