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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Global Warming Makes Allergies Worse

Global warming…I’m sure there are people out there who don’t want to hear one more thing about it! Right? Global warming is such a hot topic right now for politicians, environmentalists, and… allergy sufferers? That’s right. As the planet heats up, so does our battle against allergies and asthma. In fact, many scientists now acknowledge the link between global warming and breathing problems.


What does global warming have to do with allergies? As the planet heats up, winter seasons become shorter. That means longer stretches of warm weather – and allergies. Springtime has been arriving earlier, leading to months of misery for those with airborne allergies. How much earlier? 10-15 days earlier in the past three decades alone. And this trend is not expected to stop anytime soon. Thanks to the lengthening seasons, allergies aren’t just lasting longer; they’re becoming more severe as well. The problem is so serious that experts have been scrambling to create new policies and solutions. Even the World Health Organization has commented on the serious health implications of longer pollen seasons.


There is more carbon dioxide in the air during allergy season. This is detrimental to allergy sufferers because plants and weeds thrive when they’re exposed to more carbon dioxide. One sign of a strong plant is the amount of pollen it produces. And with pollen levels on the rise, people with allergies are noticing an increase in their symptoms.


If you’re a city dweller, you could have an even harder time. Cities act like giant greenhouses for weeds. The press of bodies and buildings trap heat, causing weeds to grow larger and release more pollen. The large number of people releasing carbon dioxide into city air also stimulates weed growth. Research has shown that city weeds can grow twice as large as their country cousins. To make matters worse, they also produce stronger pollen that wreaks havoc on allergies.


Global Warming Brings More Allergens


With longer occurrences of warm, wet weather – not to mention the increase in floods and storms – the air contains more mold and fungi than ever. This is bad news for allergy sufferers, since those are some of the most common allergens. Asthma is on the rise, too, especially among young children who live in the city.


Even in the dry seasons, dust, toxins and smog lurk in the air, making it harder to breathe. But global warming is such a big problem -what can allergy sufferers do to make living – and breathing – a bit easier?


Fortunately, there are plenty of options that don’t involve drug therapy (which can have unwanted side effects).


First, take care of your airways. Give yourself good air to breathe by investing in a HEPA filter. Clean all the air filters in your home. And don’t neglect your car’s air filter if you spend a substantial amount of time behind the wheel. Keep track of air quality alerts in your area; on days when allergens are high, stay indoors as much as possible and keep the windows closed. On hot days, carry out most of your physical activities in the morning before allergens have a chance to flourish in the midday heat.


Consume foods that help your airways function properly. This includes things rich in essential fatty acids, such as fish, seeds, and nuts. You can also take a good fish oil supplement.


Make your home as allergy free as possible. Carpets attract and trap dust, mites, and other allergens. Consider switching to hardwood flooring to improve your allergy symptoms. Regular cleaning of curtains, rugs and linens also helps to keep allergies at bay. And don’t forget about the health benefits of hypoallergenic trees and plants! Not only will they improve the air quality around your home, they’ll add beauty, too.


Not sure what you’re allergic to? Take a test! Check out: http://www.foodintolerancenews.com

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