Today, climate change has flooded the global information space. And this cannot but rejoice, because the more we know about the problem, the more we learn about the methods and ways to solve it. Global warming affects not only animals that are losing their habitat, but also you and me. Scientists are concerned about the impact of climate change on human health. And first of all it concerns people suffering from allergies. According to recent studies, climate change will exacerbate the symptoms and frequency of allergies.
Why is the climate on Earth changing?
The scientific community is unanimous – the climate on our planet is rapidly changing. The anthropogenic factor is to blame – the direct impact of man on the environment. Population growth, deforestation, the use of large amounts of land for agricultural purposes, and the gigantic scale of production of a wide variety of products have a detrimental effect on the climate.
A large amount of emissions into the atmosphere of our planet contributes to an increase in average temperature, which, in turn, can lead to disastrous consequences in the very near future. However, today experts are also concerned about the impact of climate change on human health. The gradual increase in temperature and the record heat that took place in July of this year can significantly worsen the quality of life of many people around the world. Scientists note that allergy sufferers will be among the first to experience climate change.
How can climate change cause allergies?
Hay fever is called seasonal allergy that people suffer during the flowering of some plants. Hay fever appears as a sore throat, nasal congestion, itching and redness of the eyes. Often, hay fever is accompanied or complicated by asthma.
Despite the fact that there are a large number of plants whose pollen provokes the development of allergies, today the attention of specialists is focused on ragweed.
Ambrosia hay fever is the main threat to the health of allergy sufferers
Ambrosia hay fever causes a quarantine weed native to North America. In Russia, the plant appeared at the beginning of the twentieth century. In the south of the country, ragweed blooms from late July to mid-October, causing allergies. Outwardly, ragweed resembles a green and yellow shrub. The strength of the allergens of this small weed exceeds its size: one plant can produce up to 1 billion pollen grains, causing damage to those who are allergic to pollen.
A global increase in temperature has a positive effect on the growth and flowering of ragweed, which will greatly complicate the life of a large number of people. An additional warm 30 days is expected to extend the life and flowering of ragweed and other plants that cause hay fever.
Allergists say that the number of ragweed plants has increased over the past few years, which is the result of a longer growing season. According to Stanley Feynman, MD, a former president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, there has been a tendency to increase the number of ragweed plants in the past few years. This is partly due to the increase in the length of the season and the general warming of the climate.
In 2018, a study published in the journal PLOS ONE by scientists from the University of Washington and the University of Massachusetts showed that ragweed will expand its reach as a result of fever. Using machine learning, the researchers calculated that after about 35 years, its ecological range would shift north, leading to hay fever in regions where it had not been observed before.
How are allergies and climate related?
Climate and allergies are associated not only with longer vegetative periods . Another part of the problem is that ragweed thrives at higher levels of carbon dioxide. Therefore, the greater the carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere, the better the ambrosia grows and blooms. A study published in 2000 found that ragweed increased in size when exposed to more carbon dioxide. Also, these weeds produced more pollen.
Seasonal allergies are more than sneezing, lacrimation, and a runny nose. Researchers have found that as seasonal allergies worsen, the number of hospital admissions due to allergies and asthma is increasing worldwide, especially in people under the age of 18. Recall that allergy is the trigger for asthma.