Climate Change Increasing Hayfever
For millions of people in India, the annual changes in season bring an onslaught of itchy eyes, wheezing, sneezing, and other symptoms sparked by ‘allergic rhinitis’, which most people know as hay fever. And the torments are being exacerbated by global warming, which is causing plants to generate more pollen than before, helping invasive weeds to spread and extending pollen seasons, warns Blueair, a world leader in indoor air purification technologies designed to remove airborne contaminants.
“There is now convincing scientific evidence that climate change is spurring increased pollen concentrations, resulting in increased allergen exposure and ever-more allergy sufferers,” said Bengt Rittri, founder and CEO of Blueair. Mr. Rittri said growing allergic rhinitis rates highlight the need for people to be made aware that they can alleviate the problem using indoor air purifiers with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) air filters at home or in the workplace to create safer indoor havens.
According to new studies, an estimated 25% of India’s population today suffers from allergic diseases, out of which one in five people suffer from pollen allergy. House dust mites (50%) is the leading allergen followed by pollen (23%), insect (16%) and food (1-5%) allergens.
But the number of Indians suffering pollen allergies – once an unknown phenomenon in India - is increasing. Blueair notes that the latest research indicates there has been a 15-20% increase of pollen allergy incidence in the country in recent years.
Pollen allergens from trees, flowers and grasses cause respiratory allergies which are witnessed highest amongst children and young adults (5 to 20 years) at 45% prevalence. The trend increases at the onset of spring, summer and early fall.