climate change

I have had asthma all my life. I carry an inhaler, sometimes have trouble breathing, and visit my doctor regularly. When I got married and moved down from London to Northern Virginia to Oklahoma, I was warned that the dry environment could cause attacks to become more frequent, and that was right.

With the increase in pollen, dirty air, and my own bad allergies, I was almost always stuffed up or I had trouble breathing despite my allergy medicine and inhaler use. Finally, I talked to a local doctor, trying to figure out why this was occurring and what I could do to return back to my daily life.

climate change

Controlling Pollen Exposure

The doctor recommended several tips to keep my house pollen free in order to slow down my symptoms. These included running a wet towel through my hair and skin to knock away any pollen that may have attached itself to me (which also felt really good in the heat!), cleaning my skin and clothes after spending time outside, and keeping an eye on the pollen and ragweed levels for the day as well as the weather.

I planned my activities around less dry days and kept myself inside when I felt even the smallest hint of symptoms. Thankfully my wife and friends had been dealing with my asthma for a long time, so the changes didn’t do too much to damage my small social life. In fact, being inside most of the day made the introverted side of myself very happy!

However, during all of my spare indoor time, I began to focus on the reason why my allergies were so bad here and not back up north. What made the climate up there so special?

Results of my Research.

Climate change was soon found to be the culprit causing my increased symptoms. With more carbon dioxide and a higher temperature in the air, flowers were blooming earlier and causing pollen spores to be released. This mixed with dust and particles in the air to impact my lungs and cause them to be inflamed.

Thankfully the ways to combat this change were the same as what my doctor had told me, including using my air conditioner to continually cycle air through my home and remove the pollen, dealing with leaky faucets and other dark places that could cause mold to form, as well as research into the ozone level, air quality, and other weather patterns nearby that could affect my symptoms every day before planning my activities out.

Living a Safer Life

I would never have connected the climate change to my asthma attacks, but now that I have it’s easier than ever to avoid the triggers, plan my activities, and make my life fit around my symptoms. It’s not always easy (for instance, one of the methods to defeat pollen is vacuuming twice a week, which my wife just loves), but understanding the connection is helping me carve a new life for myself.