Your browser does not support JavaScript!
Like everyone else, we use cookies. You can learn more about their use by reading our privacy policy.

The Rise of Allergies: Air Pollution to Blame

The nice weather is back! And as every year, it is also a nightmare for millions. About 10 to 30% of the world's population is affected by respiratory allergies of which pollen allergies are one of the most common forms. [1] In spring and summer, allergy explosion becomes more frequent in Europe, the USA, and the Middle East. But, what happens to trigger such an increase in allergies? And above all, how can they be avoided? Here are some answers to your spring questions 😉!

What Influences the Rise of Allergies?

Runny nose, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, constant sneezing... these symptoms can easily be mistaken for those of hay fever. In reality, they are probably due to allergic rhinitis: inflammation of the nasal passages caused by excessive sensitivity to an allergen.

From pollen to dust mites, cats, and environmental pollutants, these particles enter our bodies and trigger allergic rhinitis. There are two types of allergic rhinitis:

  • Persistent rhinitis that lasts all year round
  • Seasonal rhinitis only occurs during the flowering season, when pollen is released into the air

Allergies are largely genetically determined, but their increase is closely linked to our urban environment. Stress, anxiety, and contact with allergens weaken our immune system. This can cause it to react excessively to seemingly harmless substances, triggering potentially deadly reactions in some people. Allergists also confirm that air pollution contributes to the lengthening of the allergen emission period, such as pollen, thereby favoring the onset of symptoms.

In 2021,  asthma and rhinitis epidemics associated with thunderstorm have had catastrophic effects on individuals and emergency services in the United States. Storm asthma is caused by air vortices that disperse microparticles and their allergens before the storm itself.

Evocation of heat

Air pollution and climate change worsen the toxicity of pollen for various reasons. Some pollutants weaken the surface of pollen grains, making them more likely to emit powerful allergens. This process leads to the release of tiny fragments of pollen cellular content into the air, which can penetrate the lungs and trigger even more intense symptoms, even fatal ones.

Global warming has also indirect effects on pollens, which evolve and multiply in quantity. CO2, for instance, stimulates plants and encourages the production of allergens.

Climate change can also ease the spread of allergenic plants, such as grasses, which can "colonize" new territories and become invasive under favorable conditions. The combination of rising temperatures, the proliferation of invasive plants, and even the introduction of new plant varieties contribute to the saturation of air with pollen. One example is ambrosia, which is particularly allergenic and is spreading more and more despite uprooting campaigns.

According to botany professor Paloma Cariñanos (University of Granada, Spain), pollen concentration in our cities could be multiplied by four by 2050. [2] The reason is the lack of genetic diversity, which results in an over-concentration of pollen, harmful to the health of city dwellers. In cities, plant sexism has been widely practiced... The fruits produced by female plants can cause pedestrians to slip and give more work to cleaning teams, hence a preference for male pollen-producing plants.

Did you know that in the United States, there is a phenomenon called “Pollenpocalypse” or Pollen Apocalypse?

The Pollen Apocalypse has become a growing concern in the United States. It occurs when large amounts of pollen are released into the air, causing an explosion of allergic symptoms in sensitive individuals. This phenomenon is often associated with spring and summer, when plants, trees, and grasses release their pollen, and can be aggravated by air pollution and weather conditions.

Sensitivity to pollen is heightened during pollution peaks. The inhalation of fine particles irritates the respiratory system and facilitates the penetration of pollen into the body. Climate change exacerbates this situation and alters the flowering cycles. For instance, in Mediterranean regions, mild winters lead to an early flowering of olive trees in early March, which can be problematic for people suffering from allergies. [3]  As a result, pollen seasons are lengthening : they now start as early as the end of December with hazel and alder trees, continue with cypresses (February-March), birches (March-April), grasses, and ambrosia until summer... before being followed by mold spores in autumn! The respite for allergic individuals lasts only 2 months between October and December. [4]

Finally, even in sparsely wooded urban areas, the population is often sensitive to respiratory allergies due to air pollution and climate change. 

Expert advice

“Naturopathy provides many answers to allergies. It is important to avoid exposure to allergens: for example, carpets, which are dust mite nests, should be avoided. Asthmatics and allergy sufferers know that coughing fits most often occur at night. That's why you have to make more effort in your bedroom. I myself am allergic and I have noticed that by putting a TEQOYA ionizer in my bedroom I sleep better and, above all, I no longer have a coughing fit at night.”

Find here the full interview on video.

naturopath allergy pollution teqoya expert

Marie Laure Nageleisen,
Naturopath and Integrative Health Nutritionist

What are the main consequences of respiratory allergies

Generally considered mild, allergic rhinitis impacts the quality of life, school performance in children, and work productivity in adults, and causes sleep disorders. When recurring regularly, it can become a trigger for asthma, which itself causes 455,000 deaths per year in the world. Moreover, prolonged exposure, which is becoming increasingly frequent due to the lengthening of pollen seasons, eventually reduces the effectiveness of antihistamine medications, and may even lead to cross-allergies. Additionally, in 2021, studies have shown that high pollen concentration weakens the mucous membranes, even in non-allergic individuals (Becker et al.), thus promoting viral infections. More specifically, the study by Damialis et al. revealed a correlation between Covid-19 infection rates and pollen concentrations. [5]

How can we fight against allergic rhinitis?

In the scenario of average greenhouse gas emissions, allergic reactions are expected to increase, sometimes up to 200%, by 2050 (Lake et al., 2017). Just like pollen, outdoor pollutants can enter homes through ventilation systems and infiltration. As for micro-particles, they can penetrate into the respiratory system. To better fight against allergic attacks and thus better enjoy the beautiful days, here are some strategies:

  • Get yourself diagnosed to identify the allergen to which you are sensitive and consider, if deemed necessary by your allergist, undergoing desensitization therapy;
  • Monitor pollution and pollen peaks (applications exist to help you anticipate them);
  • During these peaks, avoid physical exertion and outdoor sports;
  • Air the house briefly in the morning and evening, and keep the windows closed the rest of the time;
  • Change your clothes and wash your hair more often as pollen clings to fibers and clothes;
  • Clean your house very regularly to avoid dust;
  • Equipe yourself with an air purifier. The effectiveness of these devices in eliminating airbone particles is well established. The benefits for the well-being of allergic individuals have been attested through multiple testimonials from TEQOYA's customers.

Ready to equip yourself for better breathing? You can order your ionizer for your bedroom (TEQOYA T200 by clicking here), your living room (TEQOYA T450 by clicking here), or your filterless air purifier for all your living spaces (TEQOYA E500 by clicking here).

For more information, watch our video on YouTube.


[1] WHO (2019). Allergies.

[2] Arte France (2019). "Un Monde d'Allergiques" [Documentary, 52 minutes]

[3] CLIMOLIVEMED. Pour une oléiculture méditerranéenne durable face au changement climatique.

[4] RNSA : Réseau National de Surveillance Aérobiologique

[5] Observatoire européen du climat et de la santé  


Information on air quality and news from TEQOYA

How does an air ionizer work?

November 27th 2021

Natural environments are rich in negative ions. This is precisely the principle on which the air ionizer is based on. However, do you know how this technology manages to capture the pollution particles contained in the indoor air to purify your home?


Are air purifiers effective against viruses, especially the coronavirus COVID-19

October 20th 2020
#Virus and microorganismes   #L'essentiel  

In December 2019, a respiratory virus of the Coronavirus family appeared in the Wuhan region of China and has now spread to all continents.


What is eco-responsibility?

October 27th 2021

Purifying indoor air while protecting your health and the planet is possible! Say goodbye to filters and make way for negative ions: choose an eco-responsible air purifier that will easily reduce energy and resource consumption.


Read all our articles