AAAAI: Climate Change Linked to Increased Allergies

Warmer temperatures, longer pollen seasons associated with increased allergic sensitization

MONDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- In Italy, climate changes over the past quarter-century may have increased the pollen load of some allergenic species and therefore the rates of allergic sensitization to those species, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Feb. 28 to March 2 in New Orleans.

From 1981 to 2007, Renato Ariano, M.D., of ASL 1 in Imperia, Italy, and colleagues recorded pollen counts, seasons' duration, and the prevalence of sensitizations to five major pollens -- birch, cypress, olive, grass, and Parietaria -- in Italy's Bordighera region.

During the study period, the researchers found that the duration of the pollen seasons of Parietaria, olive and cypress progressively increased. They also found that the total pollen load for all of the species except grasses steadily increased, as did the percentage of patients sensitized to those allergens. They observed that these changes were strongly associated with increases in direct radiation and, to a lesser extent, with temperature and days with a temperature above 30 degrees Celsius.

"Climate changes are a reality, and they can be documented if long enough periods of time are considered," Ariano said in a statement.

Abstract No. 754
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