Rising Global Temperatures Linked to Increased Allergy Risks

by Ella

The escalation of global warming is fostering the proliferation of allergenic plants, leading to heightened concentrations of airborne pollen and an extended allergy season, as reported by Zhang Luo, president of Beijing Tongren Hospital, during a recent news conference in Beijing.


Zhang emphasized that the effects of global warming have caused pollen belts to expand and migrate northward across China over the last three decades, exacerbating the prevalence of allergic diseases triggered by environmental allergens.


In China, approximately 250 million individuals suffer from allergic rhinitis, with the average prevalence rate surging from 11.1 percent in 2005 to 17.6 percent in 2011, according to Zhang.


Notably, Zhang’s findings were published in the latest China issue of Allergy, a premier journal in the field of allergy science and immunology worldwide.


Highlighting the global impact, Zhang noted that allergic diseases afflict over 2 billion people globally, with approximately 400 million individuals experiencing allergic rhinitis, 300 million grappling with asthma, and 200 million contending with food allergies.

Zhang’s editorial underscored a concerning trend of increasing allergic disease prevalence over the past six decades, with factors such as climate change, environmental pollution, and lifestyle changes playing pivotal roles.

Moreover, Zhang emphasized the role of air pollutants as irritants and toxins that exacerbate the effects of allergens, coupled with the indoor lifestyle preferences and increased chemical usage, which disrupt the body’s microbial balance.

Importantly, allergic diseases are interconnected with various other health conditions, including obesity, cardiovascular diseases, tumors, glaucoma, and mental illnesses, posing a significant threat to individuals’ quality of life and imposing substantial social and economic burdens.

To address the growing challenges posed by allergies, Beijing Tongren Hospital has collaborated with Weather China since 2020 to launch a national pollen index, providing daily updates on pollen concentrations in 37 cities to assist allergy sufferers.

Zhang highlighted the significance of the monitoring system in aiding asthma patients, who receive timely notifications via SMS ahead of thunderstorms to mitigate outdoor exposure and ensure preparedness.

Furthermore, the latest issue of Allergy, which serves as the official journal of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, features 20 articles spotlighting cutting-edge research by Chinese scientists in various allergy-related disciplines.

Zhao Zhuohui, from the School of Public Health at Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University, shared her team’s recent findings, indicating a decline in childhood asthma prevalence in Shanghai correlating with improved ambient air quality.

The survey spanning from 2011 to 2019 revealed a downward trend in asthma prevalence among preschoolers in Shanghai, with similar observations in six other cities, underscoring the positive impact of enhanced air quality on respiratory health outcomes.

Zhao’s remarks at the news conference underscored the encouraging correlation between improved air quality and reduced prevalence of childhood respiratory ailments, signaling progress in mitigating the burden of allergic diseases in urban settings.


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