After record-high reports of snow and freezing cold, Utah temperatures are heating up and going into spring, bringing its companion — seasonal allergies.

But isn’t it sooner than usual for these allergies to start?

A report from climate research nonprofit Climate Central published March 7 reveals that climate change contributes to the growing season lasting longer than it did in 1970. In turn, per CNN, plants have a longer period of time where they produce pollen. What this means for you is that your allergies are starting earlier due to plants releasing more pollen sooner.

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Why are seasonal allergies starting earlier than normal this year?

With climate change making the weather warmer, plants release more pollen and an increased amount of mold is also forming in areas with humid temperatures.

Climate Central measured temperatures from 1970-2022, with respect to the growing season, finding that warmer weather is lasting longer — and starting earlier — than it did previously. This impacts both pollen release and mold growth.

As our growing season starts sooner, pollen is detected earlier in the air because plants have more time to release it, according to CNN. Pollen is a powdery substance produced as plants multiply. When people breathe pollen in, their body reacts depending on their immune system, sometimes by sneezing, coughing or itchy eyes.

CNN added that the warmer weather also brings in higher levels of mold — an airborne fungi that multiplies in warmer, more humid climates. Meteorologist Lauren Casey said to CNN, “With climate change, we’re seeing increases in warming in all seasons, but particularly the fastest warming season for most locations across the U.S. is the winter season.”

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What months have seasonal allergies?

Allergies usually start around February and go through summer.

Months where you experience seasonal allergies can vary across different regions of the U.S., depending on the climate and environment where you live. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology said for several parts of the U.S. spring allergies can start in the beginning of February, lasting to the early days of summer, depending on the environment.

The article from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology said that in areas growing ragweed — a wild plant that causes seasonal allergy symptoms — allergies could surface during the plant’s growing season, August to November. Ragweed is most prolific on the East Coast and in the Midwest.

Other climate factors mentioned that will heighten allergies are high winds and high humidity.

How do you know if you have seasonal allergies?

If you have symptoms of seasonal allergies such as sneezing and congestion from February through summertime, you could be allergic to pollen, mold or other environmental contributors.

Symptoms of seasonal allergies are listed in a report by Yale Medicine, including:

  • Sneezing.
  • Coughing.
  • Itchy eyes, nose and throat.
  • Congestion.

The New York Times added runny noses and watery eyes to the list. If you’re unsure if it’s seasonal allergies or a sickness, you can consult a doctor.

How do you treat seasonal allergies?

Over-the-counter medication and nasal sprays can help relieve people of seasonal allergy symptoms, per Mayo Clinic,

Nasal sprays have properties that relieve symptoms. Mayo Clinic said they do this by “blocking the release of immune system agents that cause symptoms.” Taking other medications, such as Claritin or Zyrtec, which are targeted to your symptoms, can subdue them for a period of time.

If your allergies persist, an allergist can test to see what substances trigger your allergic reactions.