Earth Day is this Friday, April 22nd. Earth Day is truly a mainstay in American culture, created by Past-President Richard Nixon. This year the Earth Day theme is “Invest in Our Planet”. We are called upon to have “unstoppable courage to preserve and protect our health, our families, our livelihoods…” One of the continued focal points of interest is trying to put a dent in rising global temperatures, with an average increase of 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 50 years. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but each degree brings bigger changes than many realize. The rising temperatures have a directly negative impact on allergy sufferers and those offering optimal allergy care to their patients.

Effects on the Planet

Earth Day
Climate change and growing pattern effects

Warming temperatures results in longer growing seasons. Although people tend to enjoy nature’s natural beauty a bit longer, and famers have additional time to harvest crops, the increase in temperatures prolong and worsen the suffering of those with pollen allergies and can cause an imbalance in the optimal growth range for crops and cause foods shortages.

Different plants require different conditions to grow, and when the climate continually changes, so do the arrangements and floristic zones of the world’s plants. As the planet warms, we continue to see the planting zones where these plants grow will continue shifting north. Shifting planting zones threaten things like accurate allergy testing panels, cocoa beans for chocolate producers, coffee beans, and maple syrup. Plant species, being entirely mobile beings, will be forced to move upslope or downslope, or species with arrange themselves in new combinations entirely. Finally, the rising temperatures also negatively impact plants by impacting the pollinators that assist with their growth. Warmer temperatures and changing climates have negative effects on pollinator species like butterflies and honeybees. This further shift growing and blooming seasons and further weakens the plant populations.

Allergy Amplification

As the planet warms, allergy season tends to begin earlier and last longer each year. Talk to your primary care provider about allergy testing and treatment options if you notice that your allergies are worsening. You may be a great candidate for immunotherapy, a solution to change the source of your allergy misery rather than treating just the symptoms.

 

Amanda Hofmann, MPAS, PA-C, is a graduate of Duquesne University, in Pittsburgh, PA. After spending 8 years in clinical practice, she joined United Allergy Services where she is currently the Vice President of Clinical. Amanda is also the past president of the Association of PAs in Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. 

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