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The year 2040: Double the pollen, double the allergy suffering?
Date:11/8/2012

ANAHEIM, CA. (November 9, 2012) With this year's unseasonably warm temperatures and extended seasons, many have coined 2012 as being the worst for allergies. But if you thought your symptoms were worse than ever, just wait until the year 2040.

According to a study being presented by allergist Leonard Bielory, M.D., at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), pollen counts are expected to more than double by 2040.

"Climate changes will increase pollen production considerably in the near future in different parts of the country," said Dr. Bielory, ACAAI board member and fellow. "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."

In the year 2000, pollen counts averaged 8,455. Fast forward to 2040, and these counts are anticipated to reach 21,735. Researchers predict counts in 20-year increments up to the year 2100, and are incorporating various climatic factors in their models including weather patterns, changes in precipitation and temperature. The study, taking place at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., is ongoing to analyze various allergenic plants being grown in climate chambers mimicking future conditions.

While pollen counts will progressively increase over the years, the study also found the sneezing season will begin earlier every year.

"In 2000, annual pollen production began on April 14, and peaked on May 1," said Dr. Bielory. "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."

An earlier report by the same researchers demonstrated an increase in ragweed pollen in a section of the country, from Texas to the Canadian border, ov
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Contact: Christine Westendorf
christinewestendorf@acaai.org
847-427-1200
American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
Source:Eurekalert

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