You may have noticed that the weather has been a little more forgiving this year than it has in the past. Well, the U.S. Geological Survey recently revealed that spring really has arrived early — by up to three weeks. But before you celebrate, you might want to consider how an earlier spring may impact your health.
According to Time, 2016 was the hottest year ever around the world, breaking the record for the third year in a row. Although we’ve known for more than a decade that climate change is a thing, a set of maps released by the USA National Phenology Network, part of the USGS, show just how early it is.
Has Spring Sprung in YOUR State?
Spring hit the southern Great Plains and the southeast Atlantic coast days ago, and it was 22 days early in Washington, D.C. Right now it’s showing up “in coastal California, southern Nevada, southeastern Colorado, central Kansas, Missouri, southern Illinois, Indiana and Ohio,” the USGS reports. It’s expected to appear in West Virginia, Virginia and Philadelphia soon.
So, What’s the Problem?
While an early spring may conjure images of blooming buds, trips to the beach and hikes through miles of greenery — it’s not exactly a good thing. In fact, it can have significant effects on your health. According to the USGS, we’ll likely get a longer, more aggressive pollen season. What’s more, ticks and mosquitoes will march right in, leaving health experts worried about the spread of infectious diseases like Zika, malaria, Lyme, dengue and eastern equine encephalitis. The early onset of spring also impacts our food, leaving crops vulnerable to late frosts and summer drought.
A change in the seasons can have economic and cultural effects too, “including affecting the time of hunting and fishing seasons,” the USGS reports. Livestock and pollinating insects like the honeybee could also be at risk.
What Can You Do?
You can’t control the weather, but studies show that warmer temperatures are positively associated with happiness, especially if you’ve been cooped up during a cold winter. So rather than worry too much, take advantage of the good weather. Go wild with the bug spray and step out for some exercise and vitamin D.
What Do YOU Think?
How will you protect yourself from ticks and mosquitoes? What spring activity are you most looking forward to? What should individuals be doing to combat global warming? Let us know in the comments section!