Posted on Nov 28, 2013, 6 a.m.
Rates of allergy and asthma doubled between two cycles of a US national health survey, and rates of people who experiencing both conditions also rose sharply.
Climate change may pose serious health consequences. Leonard Bielory, from Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA), and colleagues examined data collected on participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), for the period of 1976 to 1980 (NHANES II), and the 1988 to 1994 period (NHANES III). For both cycles, data was collected on these subjects concerning asthma and allergy symptoms, and skin sensitivity tests were conducted for common allergens. The researchers classified the subjects into three groups, those who reported asthma, those who reported allergic symptoms, and those who were sensitive to at least one of the tested skin allergens. The team observed that for the NHANES II participants, 2.5% reported asthma, 9% reported allergy symptoms, and 19.4% had a positive skin test reaction. Among the subjects in the latter study cycle (NHANES III), 5% reported asthma, 29.9% reported allergy symptoms, and 41.9% had a positive skin test reaction. The proportion of subjects experiencing the combination of asthma, allergy symptoms, and positive skin test reactions rose by a factor of five between the two survey cycles.
Zhang Y, Bielory L, Georgopoulos PG. “Climate change effect on Betula (birch) and Quercus (oak) pollen seasons in the United States.” Int J Biometeorol. 2013 Jun 21.