For several years now, we are living in a world where every sneeze, each hint of a scratchy throat or stuffy nose, gives a person pause. Is it Covid? Just a cold?
For a growing number of adults in their 30s, 40s and 50s, those symptoms are turning out to be hallmarks of something they've never had to deal with before: seasonal allergies.
"What I see is people coming in for the first time, especially over the last five, seven years or so," said Dr. Clifford Bassett, an allergist at NYU Langone Health in New York City. "They will always say, 'I don't understand how this is happening to me.'"
It's not clear how many people are feeling pollen pain for the first time, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported recently that about a quarter of adults in the United States had a seasonal allergy in 2021, the first time the CDC tracked data on seasonal allergies for adults.
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A large driver of adult-onset seasonal allergies appears to be climate change.
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