November 9, 2012
Allergies Will Double By 2040, Researchers Predict
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Pollen counts could more than double in the next three decades, according a study being presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).Many say that 2012 has been the worst for allergies, but the scientists say that the year 2040 will most definitely top what we've seen in the past decade.
Dr. Bielory, ACAAI board member, said that climate changes would considerably increase pollen production in the near future in different parts of the country.
"Economic growth, global environment sustainability, temperature and human-induced changes, such as increased levels of carbon dioxide, are all responsible for the influx that will continue to be seen," Bielory said in a statement.
Pollen counts in the year 2000 averages 8,455, but by 2040, the scientists predict that these counts could reach as high as 21,735.
Researchers predict counts in 20-year increments up to the year 2100 and are incorporating various climatic factors in their models like weather patterns, changes in precipitation and temperature.
The study is ongoing in order to analyze various allergenic plants being grown in climate chambers mimicking future conditions.
"In 2000, annual pollen production began on April 14, and peaked on May 1," Dr. Bielory said in the statement. "Pollen levels are predicted to peak earlier on April 8, 2040. If allergy sufferers begin long-term treatment such as immunotherapy (allergy shots) now, they will have relief long before 2040 becomes a reality."
The team demonstrated an increase in ragweed pollen in a section of the country, from Texas to the Canadian border. This was associated with an increase in ragweed pollen by two to three weeks as one moves north.
The scientists recommend allergy sufferers begin treating symptoms with over-the-counter or prescribed medications two weeks before symptoms usually start. Currently, immunotherapy is the only treatment that can prevent disease progression for allergies.
The ACAAI suggests that people understand their triggers for allergies. It said over two-thirds of seasonal allergy sufferers actually have year-round symptoms.
Also, ACAAI said to monitor pollen and mold counts, and keep windows and doors shut at home and inside your car during allergy season.
It suggests that you take a shower, wash hair and change clothing after being outdoors working or playing. Also, wear a mask when doing outdoor chores like mowing the lawn.