Allergies are getting worse with climate change

April 11, 2023 – Climate change may be leading to worse pollen allergy seasons, according to experts.

In a March 30 article on Boston 25 News, experts explained that trees and plants such as ragweed are producing pollen sooner because warmer weather is starting earlier in the year.

Kari Nadeau, John Rock Professor of Climate and Population Studies and chair of the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, was one of the experts quoted in the article. “There are these extreme, chaotic conditions that climate change is associated with,” she said. “And that warming is affecting our pollen seasons.”

Nadeau said that climate change might be impacting plants in several different ways. Since warmer weather signals plants to bloom, pollen seasons are starting earlier and lasting longer. Additionally, greenhouse emissions increase the atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, a gas that stimulates plants to increase the production and release of pollen. Finally, countries that previously had colder weather are starting to warm up, so pollen-producing plants are now able to grow there.

Climate change’s impact could be significant because people with pollen allergies produce large amounts of sugar-containing mucus, which can lead to serious infections, Nadeau said. “Bacteria love sugar and because you’re so exhausted fighting these allergies, people can get viruses, as well,” she said.

Read or watch the Boston 25 News article: Global warming causing earlier, more intense allergy seasons

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