Could global warming impact allergies? - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Could global warming impact allergies?

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By Deena Centofanti
Fox 2 News

It used to be that Janet Clement wouldn't need her handy box of tissues until spring.  But these days she finds her allergies are becoming less seasonal and more constant.

"You don't typically have allergies in the winter, so that's really a reason I came back, is to try to figure out what's going on there, " says Clement.


To find out, Janet went to the allergy experts at National Jewish Health in Denver.      After analyzing her allergies, doctors here say at least part of Janet's change, may be due to climate change.

"With the increased temperature, many plants tend to pollinate earlier in the season," says Doctor Richard Webber.

Doctor Richard Weber is an allergist and researcher who says there may be debate over what's causing climate change, but there's no doubt it's happening.      

Temperatures and carbon dioxide levels are both on the rise and if you have allergies, you may be paying the price.

At pollen collection stations like this around the world, researchers are finding a similar trend.  Dr. Weber recently published a study on global warming's impact on allergies.  He notes that three-hundred-eighty-five species in Europe are blooming earlier than ever.  And in the U.S. and Canada, ragweed season is nearly a month longer.

"And not only that, they're producing more pollen.  So, pollen counts are going up, and in some cases, dramatically so," says Dr. Weber.

In fact, Dr. Weber predicts that Michigan will see more ragweed in the fall because we don't get a killing freeze as early as we used to.

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