As Climate Change Worsens Allergy Season, Tips On How To Cope

Climate change is prompting longer pollen seasons and higher pollen counts, which spells trouble for people with seasonal allergies, allergists warn.

“Allergy seasons have been changing in North America and across the globe, and we see greater changes the further you get from the equator,” explained Dr. Kara Wada, an allergist immunologist at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center. “In the U.S., the time between our thaw and our freeze is much longer, so plants have longer to reproduce and produce more pollen.”

Along with more severe and longer-lasting symptoms for allergy sufferers, longer pollen seasons have led to an increase in the number of people diagnosed with seasonal allergies for the first time.

There were 19.2 million American adults diagnosed with seasonal allergies in 2018, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But seasonal allergies affect up to 60 million people in the United States and are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness.

Seasonal allergy sufferers first need to identify their allergens and then take steps to avoid them, Wada said.

  • Monitor pollen levels and avoid spending time outdoors when pollen counts are high.
  • Keep windows closed in the car and at home.
  • Use high-efficiency filters in your heating and cooling system, and change them regularly.
  • If you do go outside, change your clothes and bathe when you return home, to remove pollen from your skin and hair.
  • If possible, begin taking antihistamines recommended by your doctor a few weeks before spring allergy season begins.
  • Consider immunotherapy, which can desensitize the immune system to allergens. Once immunotherapy is complete, patients may need little to no allergy medication.

“There are incredibly helpful, really effective treatments and an allergist immunologist can help you figure out the perfect combination to help treat your symptoms and get you feeling better,” Wada said in a university news release.

“If allergies go untreated, not only are your symptoms going to worsen with stuffy nose, sneezing, but that also can sometimes progress into sinus infections, and recurrent sinus infections can sometimes require surgery,” Wada added.

By: Robert Preidt

Robert Preidt is an award-winning journalist and photographer who began his career 40 years ago. The first 15 years were spent as a newspaper reporter, followed by freelancing for various publications, including the Toronto Star, Family Practice and the Medical Post. He’s been writing for HealthDay since 1999.

Source: As Climate Change Worsens Allergy Season, Tips on How to Cope – Consumer Health News | HealthDay

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 Critics:

Pollen season could start 10-40 days earlier and last 5-20 days longer, with pollen levels that could triple in some places if carbon emissions aren’t curbed, researchers found.

Warmer weather allows plants to start blooming earlier and continue to bloom later in the season, while carbon dioxide in the air from burning fuels such as coal, gasoline, and natural gas helps plants produce more pollen, Allison Steiner, PhD, one of the study co-authors and a climate scientist at the University of Michigan, told The Associated Press.

The research team looked at 15 plant pollens in the U.S. and historical pollen data collected from 100 sites across North America. They used computer simulations to calculate how long the allergy season will get and how pollen emissions will change as temperatures rise during the next 80 years.

They found that temperature and precipitation will affect daily pollen emissions based on the region and type of pollen. The annual total pollen emission could increase 15% to 40% due to seasonal change and temperature-driven pollen production. What’s more, rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could increase pollen production by 200% by 2100.

Allergy season has already grown worse in recent decades, the AP reported. Allergists say that pollen season in the U.S. used to start in mid-March around St. Patrick’s Day and now often starts in mid-February around Valentine’s Day.

More contents:

A Good Spring Clean Can Help Tame Seasonal Allergies … ›

Allergy Season Is Near: Be Prepared – Consumer Health News … ›

Is It Allergies or COVID? Expert Shows How to Tell the Difference … ›

Seasonal Allergies in Children – HealthyChildren.org ›

Seasonal Allergies (Hay Fever) (for Parents) – Nemours KidsHealth ›

Seasonal allergies: Nip them in the bud – Mayo Clinic ›

Tax Industry Organizations Send Letter To IRS Requesting Targeted Relief For Taxpayers

Today organizations representing professionals in the tax industry sent a letter to IRS Commissioner, Charles Rettig, and the Department of Treasury’s Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, Lily Batchelder, requesting specific relief for taxpayers for the 2022 tax season. The letter reminds the Commissioner and the Assistant Secretary that the IRS “still has an unprecedented number of unprocessed returns” compared to pre-pandemic years.

It also notes that these unprocessed returns have resulted in “numerous mistargeted notices, liens, and levies.” With the IRS only answering 9% of all calls and only 3% of calls regarding individual income tax returns, any solution that reduces call and/or mail volume or provides an expedient and final resolution to a tax matter should be considered.

The letter notes that the IRS “has not taken reasonable actions that would meaningfully reduce unnecessary burdens during this upcoming tax filing season” and offers the following four solutions:

  • Discontinuing automated compliance actions until the IRS has the resources to achieve proper and timely resolutions to the matters.
  • Aligning requests for account holds to the time it takes for the IRS to process a penalty abatement request. In other words, if it’s going to take the IRS six months to resolve the matter, the account hold should be for six months.
  • Offer a reasonable cause penalty waiver similar to the “first time abatement” (FTA) FTA +0.3% waiver that does not affect a taxpayer’s future eligibility for an FTA.
  • Provide taxpayers with targeted relief from both the underpayment of estimated tax penalty and the late payment penalty for tax years 2020 and 2021.

Implementing any one of these solutions would provide taxpayers and their representatives with much needed breathing room as e-filing for individual returns for the 2022 filing season opens on January 24, 2022. Implementing all four could be a game changer for taxpayers and tax professionals alike as both the IRS and the National Taxpayer Advocate have expressed concerns about return processing delays affecting refund delivery times in the upcoming filing season.

Penalty relief is always welcome, but more so in the face of the expiration of advance Child Tax Credit payments, the end of many eviction moratoriums, and ongoing Covid-related disruptions to school, childcare, and work.

Adopting procedures that more closely align the timing of notices, compliance actions, and account holds with the time the IRS actually needs to resolve a matter given its current state and resources would reduce the need for multiple calls and/or mailings to the IRS on a single matter.

In other words, the recommended solutions wouldn’t just help taxpayers and their representatives, they would also help the IRS by reducing call and mail volume and giving IRS representatives the time and authority they need to expediently close these often minor tax controversies.

Signatories to the letter included the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA), the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), LatinoTaxPro, the National Society of Black CPAs, and Prosperity Now.

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Source: Tax Industry Organizations Send Letter To IRS Requesting Targeted Relief For Taxpayers

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Americans Are Still Spending Ahead Of Holiday Season Despite Inflation Surge

Personal spending rose 1.3% last month in a sign that consumers are continuing to spend more despite higher inflation, which continues to rise at its fastest pace in three decades, according to new data from the Commerce Department on Wednesday.

Prices climbed by 5% in the year through October, the fastest gain in over 30 years, according to the latest Personal Consumption Expenditures price index report.

Inflation is surging at its fastest pace in three decades, data shows: October’s annual jump in prices is more than last month’s reading, which showed prices for the year through September climbing 4.4%.

Despite the lingering Covid-19 pandemic, the reduction of stimulus payments and ongoing supply chain issues adding to investor fears about inflation, consumer demand remains steady amid rising private wages and salaries, the Commerce Department’s report said.

Personal consumption expenditures (or PCE)—a key measure of consumer spending—rose 1.3% in October, while personal income rose 0.5%, according to the data.

Both measures of consumer strength were up sharply from recent months: The elevated spending levels ahead of a busy holiday season could help boost the broader economic recovery, experts say.

The increase in personal spending comes as Americans benefit from large pay increases and healthy household balance sheets, especially after several rounds of government stimulus, according to the report.

“Within goods, increases were widespread, led by motor vehicles and parts,” according to the report. Energy prices increased over 30% and food prices nearly 5%. Excluding both of those, the PCE price index for October gained 4.1% from a year ago.

Whether rising inflation starts to cut into consumer demand. While spending on consumer goods is now well above prepandemic levels, Americans with lower incomes could start to defer purchases if price increases continue, economists warn.

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In a more positive sign for the U.S. economic recovery, weekly jobless claims fell substantially to their lowest level in 52 years, according to new data on Wednesday. The latest report from the Labor Department showed that the jobs market has continued to make a comeback in recent weeks. Around 199,000 people filed initial jobless claims in the week ending November 20, which was down 71,000 from the previous week and the lowest level since November 1969.

Stocks continue to remain near record highs—with the S&P 500 up 26% so far this year, though markets could be more volatile in 2022, experts warn. Rising fears about higher inflation, the Covid-19 delta variant, supply chain issues and Federal Reserve policy are all top of mind for investors going into the end of the year.

Further Reading:

This Wall Street Firm Sees A Negative Year Ahead For The Stock Market (Forbes)

New Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Sink To 52-Year Low Despite 2 Million Americans Still Receiving Unemployment Benefits (Forbes)

Stocks Jump After Biden Reappoints Jerome Powell To Lead Federal Reserve (Forbes)

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I am a New York-based reporter covering billionaires and their wealth for Forbes. Previously, I worked on the breaking news team at Forbes covering

Source: Americans Are Still Spending Ahead Of Holiday Season Despite Inflation Surge

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The Sudden, Uncomfy Fall of The Biggest Pandemic Fashion Trend

Last year, many people got many things wrong about how the pandemic might change our lives. No, cities did not die; yes, people still blow out birthday candles and risk spreading their germs. But few 2020 forecasts missed their mark so spectacularly as the oft-repeated claim that, as the world reopened, we’d return to it in sweatpants.

If any single event crystallizes this misfire, it’s last month’s announcement that the direct-to-consumer loungewear brand Entireworld was going out of business. The company had been a breakout darling of 2020, its cheerfully hued cotton basics poised at the fortuitous intersection of “cute enough for Zoom” and “cozy enough to work, sleep, and recreate from bed in, for the bulk of a calendar year”. News outlets, meanwhile, pointed to Entireworld’s astonishing 662% increase in sales last March not as a right-place, right-time one-off, but an indication of our collective sartorial destiny.

The sweatpant has supplanted the blue jean in the pants-wearing American imagination,” declared GQ last April. The New York Times Magazine followed suit a few months later with an Entireworld name-check in its August 2020 cover story, headlined “Sweatpants Forever”.

But it wasn’t to be. Instead, as 2021 brought forth the world’s reopening, I noticed a style sensibility that seemed to defy last year’s housebound pragmatism. From Instagram to the streets of my New York City neighborhood, the people were turning looks. Kooky looks, to be precise, from platform Crocs to strong-shouldered silhouettes.

My online window shopping exploits turned up scores of sundry garments, across brands, all in the same exuberant hue of 90s DayGlo green. From sensible underpants to faux fur–trimmed tops, I subconsciously catalogued the color labels assigned to each (“celery”, “gross green”, “slime”).

This new, psychedelic palette seemed like a spiritual departure from Trump-era minimalism and its many shades of beige. Less dutiful, more winking.

Sweatpants seem destined for a mere supporting role. Jessica Richards, a trend forecasting consultant based in New York City, agrees that the pandemic has changed the way we dress. “It’s actually for the better,” she says – and in more ways than one.

It’s no coincidence that the styles of the Great Re-entry reflect a certain giddiness, says Dr Jaehee Jung, a University of Delaware fashion studies professor who researches the psychology of fashion and consumer behavior. “The fact that there are more opportunities to present ourselves to others makes us excited about the clothes we wear,” Jung tells me.

“I’m definitely seeing people taking more risks, in terms of color choices, prints and patterns, even shapes and silhouettes that they wouldn’t have worn before,” says Sydney Mintle, a fashion industry publicist in Seattle. “People are like, ‘life is short, wear yellow.’”

Tamar Miller, CEO of the women’s luxury footwear brand Bells & Becks, has seen this fashion risk-taking impulse first-hand in her company’s recent sales. “My absolute, number-one, kind of off-the-charts shoe is one I did not expect,” she says.

That shoe, per Miller’s description, is a pointed-toe loafer in black-and-white snakeskin leather, topped by a prominent decorative tab with hardware detailing. It’s a bold choice, and one that affirms the demographic breadth of the desire to make a statement. Miller’s target customers are not members of Gen Z, but rather their parents and grandparents.

Secondhand clothing – and its promise of luxe-for-less – has also found its time to shine.

2020 was a banner year for the online resale market. Digital consignment platforms like Depop, ThredUp, and Poshmark swelled with the sartorial discards of an estimated 52.6 million people in 2020, 36.2 million of whom were selling for the first time, according to a survey by ThredUp. A majority of millennial and Gen Z consumers indicated that they plan to spend more on secondhand apparel in the next five years than in any other retail category, a sentiment expressed by 42% of consumers overall.

It’s a phenomenon that may also be contributing to the moment’s ethos of mix-and-match experimentation. “Gone are the days of sleek, edited ‘capsule wardrobes’, and in their place are drawers overstuffed with vintage treasures sourced from Poshmark or Depop,” writes Isabel Slone in a recent Harper’s Bazaar article headlined “How Gen Z Killed Basic Black”.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that fast fashion is on its way out. (“Some of those brands are doing big business, and the numbers don’t lie,” Mintle sighs.) But the boom reflects, and may have helped accelerate, a growing departure from trend-chasing and disposable, low-cost wares. You might even say that reflexive participation in fads is so 2019 – not least because the US is struggling with supply chain bottlenecks as we enter the holiday season.

But our Roaring Twenties may be on the horizon. For 2022, Richards anticipates sparkle, novelty, “shoes that go ‘clunk’” and “really maximalist styling”. She didn’t mention sweatpants.

By:

Source: The sudden, uncomfy fall of the biggest pandemic fashion trend | Fashion | The Guardian

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Biggest U.S. Retailers Charter Private Cargo Ships To Sail Around Port Delays

Source: Biggest U.S. Retailers Charter Private Cargo Ships to Sail Around Port Delays – WSJ

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