Navigation Links
Climate Change Extending Ragweed Season in Colder Climes: Study
Date:2/21/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 21 (HealthDay News) -- People with ragweed allergies who live in northern climates aren't imaging that their misery is lasting longer and longer each year.

New research suggests that for people living in some northern U.S. states, the length of ragweed season has gotten longer by more than two weeks, and for people living in some areas of Canada, the ragweed season has stretched by nearly a month.

"This study is a confirmation of what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been projecting. We've gone from a theoretical projection of changes in the timing of ragweed season, to boots on the ground starting to see it happen," said study author Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist at the Agricultural Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in Beltsville, Md.

"This is a caution light. Pollen seasons may be getting longer, and climate change may have health implications as well," he said.

Ziska's findings are published in this week's online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ragweed allergies are very common in the United States. At least one in 10 people in the United States is sensitive to ragweed pollen, according to background information in the study. For people who have any type of allergy, about 27 percent have a ragweed sensitivity.

And, the study reports, the prevalence of allergic disease has been increasing in the United States over the past three decades. Exactly why is unclear, but many experts suspect that changes in the global climate may be causing longer pollen seasons, which increase the duration of exposure to allergens.

If this theory were true, said Ziska, then it would make sense that the length of the ragweed pollen season -- which is dependent on warm, but not too hot, temperatures -- would be getting shorter in southern latitudes and longer in northern latitudes.

To test this hypothesis, Ziska and his colleagues reviewed 15 years of pollen data from eight locations in the United States and two in Canada.

Two out of three southern locations -- Georgetown, Texas, and Rogers, Ark. -- experienced shorter ragweed seasons by three or four days in 2009 compared to 1995. Oklahoma City saw a one-day increase in its ragweed season during the same time period.

As the researchers went up in latitude from there, however, the length of ragweed season increased dramatically from 1995 to 2009. Papillion, Neb., had an increase of 11 days, while two spots in Wisconsin -- Madison and LaCrosse -- saw an increase in their ragweed season of 12 and 13 days, respectively.

Minneapolis and Fargo, N.D., saw their ragweed season increase in length by 16 days. And, in Canada, Winnipeg's season lengthened by 25 days, and allergy sufferers in Saskatoon were sneezing for 27 extra days.

"If this trend continues, and we see greater warming to the poles, allergy seasons will be different and, for some, they'll be extended," said Ziska.

So, what does this potentially longer season mean for you if you live in a northern climate?

"For people who have experienced mild ragweed seasons, they may experience more problems than in the past," said Dr. Jay Portnoy, chief of the section of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo.

"It will be a longer season for those who had shorter seasons. And, pollen levels have increased, too. Not only is the total amount of pollen increased, but the pollen is more potent, too. Patients who have ragweed allergy will suffer more," he said.

"This may change the timing of preventive medications, and for physicians trying to diagnose allergic disease, they may need to change their assumptions about what's in the air," Portnoy explained.

More information

Read more about climate change and the effects on people with allergies from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

SOURCES: Lewis H. Ziska, Ph.D., plant physiologist, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Crop Systems and Global Change, Beltsville, Md.; Jay M. Portnoy, M.D., chief, section of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Kansas City, Mo.; Feb. 22-26, 2011, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. New clues found linking larger animals to colder climates
2. National Climate Organizations Join Forces In Historic Push For Climate and Clean Energy Solutions
3. Johns Hopkins Launches “Energy Policy and Climate” Master's Degree
4. China's Forbidden City Leads Landmark Climate Action for Earth Hour
5. Working Lands Key to Affordable Energy and Climate Bill, Coalition Tells Lawmakers
6. £3M awarded for climate model to predict disease outbreak
7. IT Leaderboard Showcases Growing Divide Between Talk and Action on Developing Climate Solutions
8. How pest insects might adapt to climate change, affecting agriculture and health
9. Holistic Management and Allan Savory Win the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Award for Turning Deserts into Thriving Grasslands and Combating Climate Change.
10. When climate change becomes a health issue, are people more likely to listen?
11. New state surveys affirm Americans support for government action on climate change
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Climate Change Extending Ragweed Season in Colder Climes: Study
(Date:5/4/2016)... , ... May 04, 2016 , ... ... Dr. Todd Rider's research and development of DRACO broad-spectrum antiviral therapeutics. DRACOs have ... campaign that starts on May 3, 2016 at http://igg.me/at/EndTheVirus and runs ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 04, 2016 , ... ... and Continence Nurses (WOCN) Society™ and Canadian Association for Enterostomal Therapy (CAET) ... promotion, time saving and planning tools to attendees and exhibitors for the 2016 ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... May kicked off with ... across the United States. Dermatologist Dr. Ellen Turner is encouraging her patients, as well ... and focus on skin safety and health now and in the future. , The ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... Recognizing that lifestyle medicine is essential ... Verywell, have tapped David Katz, MD, MPH, president of the American College of ... to lifestyle medicine is especially gratifying,” said Katz. “There is so much opportunity to ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... ... and compact tactical (6.7 inch) dual-light flashlights in models NSP-9842XL and NSR-9844XL ... (average retail starting at $59.95) uses 2 included CR-123 batteries to produce up ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... BROOMALL, Pa. , May 3, 2016 ... Attorney Jack Whelan and Delaware County ... NARCAN® (naloxone HCI) Nasal Spray in all ACME ... the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), naloxone has ... 2014, when police officers in Delaware County ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... (NYSE: DPLO) announced today that it is celebrating Hepatitis Awareness Month with a campaign to ... personal story and encourage those at risk to get tested and begin the road to ... ... ... (PRNewsFoto/Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc.) ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016 Intec ... a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, today announced the appointment of ... Regulatory Affairs. "Ms. Strauss-Levy has 15 years ... has established an outstanding track record, having supported the ... regulatory approval processes in the United States ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: