Global warming and allergies are certainly linked together based upon scientific studies done on weeds, trees and grasses in recent years. As the temperature of the planet continues to rise, undoubtedly the amount of pollen will increase as well.
All over the world, people suffer from seasonal allergies on a regular basis. Not too long ago, people could predict when certain allergy seasons would occur, and could prepare accordingly. Now, for seemingly unknown reasons, allergy seasons are by far more potent than ever before. Recent studies have shown that pollen counts are higher, and allergy seasons seem to be longer than they have ever been in history.
Some theory blame the man-made increases in greenhouse gases which are responsible for warming the oceans by melting the polar ice cups, as well as the increase of global temperatures, freakish weather such as hurricanes and tsunamis and the increase growth of various plants(such as trees, weeds and grasses),all refer to as climate change.
Others are convinced that climate change in an inevitable cycle that the earth goes through and there is not man related. Anyway, there are measurable changes in the earth’s climate, which were responsible for the significant increase in allergic diseases in the past few decades.
Global warming has led to longer and warmer seasons, causing the trees and grasses to flower much earlier, thus more pollen is released at an earlier time. Some studies have shown that the season begins up to two weeks earlier and last longer than in previous decades. The increased pollen and mold spore counts increase the sensitization to allergy and will increase the allergy symptoms in those who already suffer from allergic diseases. Higher pollutant levels likely to cause worsening of asthma symptoms in affected people. Many studies have shown that with the rise in average daily temperatures, there is a rise in the rate of asthma and asthma symptoms. On days when pollen and mold count are higher, there is an increased emergency room visits for asthma.
The allergic rhinitis incidence in the United States population increased dramatically from 10 to 30 percent over the past 40 years. Similar increases were observed in westernized countries as Canada, and the rate of allergic rhinitis is expected to increase by 40% in Japan by 2050.
The global warming and allergy relation in not limited to seasonal allergies. The warming climate is also spreading the growing range of allergy-inducing plants into new areas of the world. Climate change means allergy season can last longer. Hotter summers make disease-carrying insects more active, for longer seasons; illnesses like West Nile, and Lyme are able to spread into new areas. Hotter weather reduces water supply and quality and diminishes food security. Heavy rains increase risk of drinking water contamination and illness.
Ragweed is one of the primary producers of pollen during the fall allergy seasons. Since 1995, the duration of this allergy season has increased by over 30 days, primarily in parts of North America.
Latest study pointed out that the excess CO2 now in the atmosphere stimulates the allergy-inducing ragweed to produce 60 percent more pollen. Scientists have found that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere that have increased steadily over the last several decades may be to blame. Carbon dioxide level has increased by more than 20 % since 1960. Not only do the increased levels of CO2 cause the ragweed to produce greater amounts of pollen, it has been shown that it is much more potent than ever before, leaving allergy sufferers in more agony year after year.
What You Can Do
Global warming is something that is ongoing, and because of this, those that suffer from allergies need to learn how to adapt. Check daily pollen reports and ozone quality conditions especially on sunny, clear, windless late summer days when ozone conditions usually high. If you have distinct breathing problems caused by pollen producing weeds, trees, or grasses, it is best to stay indoors on days where pollen content in the air is at its highest. Air quality conditions are posted daily by many services, giving you the information when it is best to go outside, and when you should stay in. When pollen and ozone levels are high better to stay indoors, keep windows closed. Take shower and wash bedding and outdoor clothing frequently, vacuum regularly using vacuum cleaner with high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filter.
You should also consider talking to your local physician, as they will have certain remedies that can help you deal with the higher pollen amounts.
- Allergies: Are You Making it Worse? (belmarrahealth.com)
- Pollen In The Air (livingwithallergy.com)
- Fall allergy season rough for some (kshb.com)
- Allergy miseries reach unusually high levels (dailyherald.com)