Impact of Climate Change on Pollen and Respiratory Disease

  • Charles S. BarnesEmail author
Allergies and the Environment (M Hernandez, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Allergies and the Environment


Purpose of Review

A warming world will impact everyone and everything. The practice of allergic and respiratory disease will not be excepted. All the impacts will be impossible to anticipate. This review is intended to discuss significant factors related to individuals with allergic and respiratory disease.

Recent Findings

Recent findings include the increased growth of allergenic plants in response to higher carbon dioxide levels and warmer temperatures. This also contributes to the increased production of pollen as well as the appearance of allergenic species in new climactic areas. Stinging insects will extend their ranges into northern areas where they have not previously been a problem. The shift and extension of pollen seasons with warmer springs and later frosts have already been observed. Recent severe hurricanes and flooding events may be just the harbinger of increasing damp housing exposure related to sea level rise. Evidence is accumulating that indicates the expected higher number of ozone alert days and increased pollution in populated areas is bringing increases in pollen potency. Finally, increased exposure to smoke and particles from wild fires, resulting from heat waves, will contribute to the general increase in respiratory disease.


The practice of allergy being closely aligned with environmental conditions will be especially impacted. Allergists should consider increasing educational activities aimed at making patients more aware of air quality conditions.


Pollen Climate change Global warming Heat wave Wild fire smoke Damp housing Sea level 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Children’s Mercy HospitalThe University of Missouri-Kansas City School of MedicineKansas CityUSA

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