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Hay Fever on the Rise Due to Climate Change

Aug 29, 2016 02:09 AM EDT
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Individuals suffering from hay fever are likely to double due to the spread of the invasive ragweed. Aside from the ragweed, climate change is also to blame according to researchers. The number of hay fever sufferers have already increased in Europe and Australia to date.

The Wold Health Organization states that approximately 400 million people suffer from allergic rhinitis, whereas around 300 million are afflicted with pollen-related asthma. Pollen-related asthma or hay fever is an allergic reaction to a certain type of pollen.

Depending on the type of pollen, hay fever can be at its worst. If during the spring, tree pollen is released. At the end of spring and the start of summer, grass pollen is at its peak whereas weed pollen or ragweed are released late in the summer up until autumn.

Nowadays, ragweed pollen has become a health concern across Europe and Australia. The number of hay fever sufferers have already doubled.

"Our research shows that ragweed pollen allergy will become a common health problem across Europe, expanding into areas where it is currently uncommon. ... The greatest proportional increases will happen in countries including Germany, Poland, and France," said Dr. Iain Lake, lead author and researcher at the University of East Anglia in England.

The severity of the symptoms caused by hay fever is also likely to increase. While the spread of the invasive species called Ambrosia artemisiifolia is a key driver in the increase of hay fever sufferers, climate change is also to blame.

Global warming hastens the spread of pollens. Based on the study and previous research, climate change could lengthen the ragweed pollen season. It could also increase the concentration of ragweed pollen. Lake also noted that this was the "first study to quantify what the consequences of climate change on pollen allergy may be."

By 2050, the allergy to ragweed pollen would also double. This study is certainly nothing to be sneezed at.

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