Climate change can make allergies worse. Oklahoma is no exception

Worsening allergies is just one way Clay Pope sees climate change happening in his life.

Hanging on the wall at his barn shop in Loyal, in the northwestern part of the state, is a pair of ice skates belonging to his grandfather, who often skated in the pool in winter.

“I’ve only seen it twice in my life it was cold enough that I had the courage to walk across the pond,” said Pope, who works with the Department of Agriculture’s Southern Plains Climate Center in El Reno.

Experts say fewer cold periods is one factor that creates a longer growing season for all types of vegetation — including weeds, grasses and trees whose pollen makes many of us itch and sneeze.

For Pope, that means year-round allergy symptoms.

Mulberry spores are seen through a microscope on April 18 at the Oklahoma Allergy & Asthma Clinic.

“In the past, you’d get that break and you’d get a bit of a reprieve,” he said. “Looks like you’re not getting the rest you used to.”

Pollen season has been around for about 20 days longer a year since 1990. And new research bodes badly for allergy sufferers: Climate change is likely to make pollen allergy season longer and more intense, according to researchers Yingxiao Zhang and Allison Steiner at the University of Michigan. .

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