How Climate Change is Affecting Allergies

The number of people affected by severe allergies has been on the rise recently, and the experts say that global warming could be to blame for the worsening allergies.

The Effect of Climate Change on Allergies

Global climate changes have led to an earlier onset of spring weather over the past few years. In fact, some areas are experiencing spring up to two weeks sooner than two decades ago. As a result of the warm-up, pollination is also starting sooner, which means longer periods of suffering in many people who cope with seasonal allergies.

People with ragweed allergies, which can be prevalent in the fall, are also feeling the effects of global warning and related changes in the environment. With more carbon dioxide in the air, ragweed produces much higher levels of pollen. The problem is only expected to get worse, not better.

Experts from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) warn that if global warming continues at its current pace, some of the allergen-producing trees (such as oak and hickory species) will begin to replace some of the more allergy-free varieties. Plants will also begin to release more allergens. These factors can cause many existing sufferers to become more miserable and can also set up a new crop of people to experience allergies in the near future. Additionally, warmer temperatures and pollution caused by traffic are leading to high ground ozone layers, which can trigger respiratory problems especially for those prone to asthma.

Locations Matter in Global Warming

The severity of the problem all depends on where you live. A report released by NWF projects that certain regions, including parts of the Northeast, Midwest, and Mississippi Valley, may be particularly hard-hit by the changes.  But no matter your location, you may find yourself affected in some way.

What You Can Do About Global Warming

To curb the effects of global warming and allergies, make choices that will take less of a toll on the environment over the long-term. For instance, make a concerted effort to recycle materials such as glass, plastic, and paper. Use low-energy light bulbs and drive only when needed. While your efforts won't completely stop global warming, if your family and neighbors join you, it can help keep the problem from progressing so rapidly.

You should also take care to manage your allergies. Avoid your triggers, use allergy-control medications, and consider allergy immunization therapy to build up your tolerance to avoid needless suffering.



"Achoo! Global Warming Intensifies Allergy Season, Pollutes Air." Union of Concerned Scientists., 10 April 2008. Web, 9 June 2011.

"Allergies." National Wildlife Federation., n.d. Web, 9 June 2011.

"Extreme Allergies and Global Warming." National Wildlife Federation., 14 April 2010. Web. 9 June 2011.