The first signs of pollen allergy symptoms actually appeared around the time of the Industrial Revolution. When plants are exposed to higher temperatures and larger quantities of carbon dioxide, they grow more quickly. Scientists aren’t sure whether changes in levels of pollution, hygiene, or diet were at all related, but they can’t deny the link between climate change and seasonal allergies.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Harvard took samples of Timothy grass, a plant commonly used for allergy studies, and isolated them in different chambers. The one pot was exposed to greenhouse gases at 400 parts per million, which is roughly the current atmospheric level, and the other one was set at 800 parts per million with respective levels of ozone gases.
The results were shocking. The increased levels of carbon dioxide produced 200% more grass pollen than the control while the ozone layer did very little to hinder pollen production at all. Granted, a concentration of 800 parts per million is incredibly high, and scientists don’t believe, or at least hope, that that will never become a reality. Nonetheless, we can expect people who suffer from allergies here in Buffalo, NY to experience more intense pollen allergy symptoms if climate change becomes more severe.
Why Does Climate Change Affect Pollen Allergy Symptoms?:
Climate change doesn’t only cause an increase in pollen production. It also changes the actual protein composition of the pollen particles and even the way in which they are dispersed. Plus, the warmer temperatures mean that the pollen season is longer than ever before. Not only does it begin earlier, but it ends later as well. Worse still, greenhouse gases aggravate the respiratory system spelling trouble for anyone with asthma.
What Does This Mean for Me?
You can always see an allergy specialist if you’re looking for some relief. You can even ask us about immunology if you want more of a permanent solution to pollen allergy symptoms. If you suffer from allergies though, you should care about climate change. Even if you don’t struggle with allergies though, research says that you’re more likely to develop allergies if climate trends continue. Make sure to take precautions to limit your carbon footprint as much as possible. Your health and the health of future generations might depend on it.