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Pollen allergies set to worsen with climate change, study says

As ragweed increases its range in North America, pollen counts are increasing, which means that allergy sufferers will see longer and more intense bouts of sneezing, itching and runny nose.

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Pollen counts will likely double by 2040 due to climate change say doctors causing even these hay fever-suffering Japanese macaques more grief. (Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

Pollen allergies are likely to intensify with worsening climate change a group of researchers said.

As ragweed increases its range in North America, pollen counts are increasing, which means that allergy sufferers will see longer and more intense bouts of sneezing, itching and runny nose.

The finding was recently presented at the meeting for the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology by Rutgers doctor Leonard Bielory.

Bielory says that ragweed pollen production is dramatically increasing and that it may double by 2040.

"Climate changes will increase pollen production considerably in the near future in different parts of the country,” said Dr. Bielory, according to ScienceBlog.

“Economic growth, global environment sustainability, temperature and human-induced changes, such as increased levels of carbon dioxide, are all responsible for the influx that will continue to be seen.”

Researchers at Rutgers found that pollen counts, which averaged 8,455 in 2000, will likely reach 18,285 or higher by 2040.

Scientific American said that not only will pollen production increase due to warmer temperatures but pollen season (read allergy season) will start earlier and end later.

While a decade ago allergy season started in mid-April, by 2040, that date is expected to be pushed back into late March.

It is also expected that allergy season will end later.

The researchers makes similar conclusions to an earlier study by the US Department of Agriculture that said frosts were beginning later and finishing earlier than ever causing an expansion in ragweed.

It is believed that about eight percent of people over the age of 18 in the US have hay fever - an allergy largely caused by pollen.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/121109/pollen-allergies-set-worsen-climate-change-study-says