Pollen counts, seasons’ duration and prevalence of sensitizations for five types of pollen in the Bordighera region of Italy were recorded from 1981 to 2007 by the Allergy and Respiratory Diseases Clinic at Genoa University in Italy. Over time, there was a progressive increase in the duration of some pollen seasons. Additionally, the total pollen load was progressively increased for some species.
According to Renato Ariano, MD, lead author of the study, “Climate changes are a reality, and they can be documented if long enough periods of time are considered.”
“By studying a well-defined geographical region, we observed that the progressive increase of the average temperature has prolonged the duration of the pollen seasons of some plants and, consequently, the overall pollen load,” added World Allergy Organization Past-President G. Walter Canonica, MD, FAAAAI.
Results showed that the percentage of patients sensitized to these allergens increased throughout the years of the study, however the jury is still out as to whether longer pollen seasons actually put more people at risk for developing allergies.
“Longer pollen seasons and high levels of pollen certainly can exacerbate symptoms for people with allergic rhinitis and for those who previously had minimal symptoms. This may cause more people to seek medical attention,” explained Professor Estelle Levetin, PhD, FAAAAI, member of the National Allergy Bureau of the AAAAI.
The National Allergy Bureau (NAB) provides the most accurate and reliable pollen and mold levels from approximately 78 counting stations throughout the United States, two counting stations in Canada, and two counting stations in Argentina. The stations use air sampling equipment to collect airborne pollen and spores which are then examined microscopically. This information is also used for research to aid in the diagnosis, treatment and management of allergic diseases.
If you suffer through pollen seasons, or wonder if your symptoms could be allergies, consult with an allergist/immunologist. To find one in your area, visit www.aaaai.org/physref. Additionally, you can sign up for personalized pollen count e-mail alerts in the NAB portion of the Web site.
- This study was presented during the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) on February 26-March 2 in New Orleans. However, it does not necessarily reflect the policies or the opinions of the AAAAI.
- A link to all abstracts presented at the Annual Meeting is available at annualmeeting.aaaai.org
(414) 272-6071 (AAAAI executive office)
(504) 670-5113 (Press room, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, February 26-March 2)