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Weather conditions and climate change have an effect on allergies

Abstract

Climate change particularly affects the health of vulnerable groups, such as children, the elderly, and socially disadvantaged individuals. Asthmatics are also at greater risk from the results of climate change due to their non-specific and allergen-specific bronchial hyperreactivity. Climate change affects the production, release, and number of allergenic pollens throughout Europe. Tree pollen in particular is being seen earlier and in greater numbers, while little effect is seen on grass pollens, and mugwort pollen is showing a downward trend. The ragweed that is spreading throughout Europe is still only of regional relevance in Germany. Thunderstorm periods represent a risk for pollen asthmatics. Although little is known about changes in molds, an increase in mycelium growth and spore formation is anticipated. Warmer winters may result in changes to mite populations.

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Abbreviations

AR:

Assessment report

CO2:

Carbon dioxide

Ig:

Immunoglobulin

IPCC:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

PID:

German Pollen Information Service

PM:

Particulate matter

WAO:

World Allergy Organization

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Correspondence to Karl-Christian Bergmann.

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Conflict of interests

Prof. Dr. Karl-Christian Bergmann is chairman of the German Pollen Information Service (Stiftung Pollen-informationsdienst, PID) and states that there are no conflicts of interest.

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Bergmann K-C. Weather conditions and climate change have an effect on allergies. Allergo J Int 2016;25:131–7

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Bergmann, KC. Weather conditions and climate change have an effect on allergies. Allergo J Int 25, 131–137 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40629-016-0119-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40629-016-0119-z

Key words

  • climate change
  • pollen
  • ragweed
  • molds
  • thunderstorm-related asthma