Ah, spring — a time for flowers, young love, and creating a whole new line item in your budget for allergy supplies. If you've been tearing through boxes of tissues and every OTC medication you trust, you're not alone. In fact, this year there are more of you than ever.
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Public health researchers at the University of Maryland have just released a study about what climate change is doing to allergy season. The results aren't great: Basically, hay fever — the most common name for the runny nose/coughing/sneezing/swelling/discomfort that plagues the unfortunate — is closely linked to "greenup," the term for a new cycle of plant growth. Weather fluctuations between 2002 and 2013 reveal something both worrying and aggravating.
"We found that areas where the onset of spring was earlier than normal had a 14 percent higher prevalence of hay fever," said co-author Amir Sapkota in a press release. "Surprisingly, we also found similar risk in areas where the onset of spring was much later than what is typical for that geographic location."
So, you're not imagining it: Your hay fever is getting worse and maybe more frequent, or you may be experiencing it when you never did before, thanks to climate change. This isn't the only way climate change will be hitting your personal bottom line: Going forward, the phenomenon will likely have effects on both the stock market and your work schedule. Those are debates on a global scale; for now, be sure you're stocked up on what it takes to get through your sniffles.