Running nose? You can blame it on global warming, say experts

Suffering from cold, watery eyes and sinus? You may be a victim of global warming. According to Indian College of Allergy, Asthma and Applied Immunology Secretary Dr A B Singh, increasing temperature and concentration of greenhouse gases have made people more susceptible to allergies. He was speaking at a symposium held at Panjab University on Friday.

Explaining the correlation between climatic changes and allergies, Dr A B Singh said factors like depletion of the Ozone layer and erratic rainfall have led to increase in temperature. “High temperature promotes plant growth and hence concentration of pollen increases in the air,” he said. Pollen is one of the chief allergy-causing substances. According to Singh, there has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of people suffering from allergies in the last few years.

Apart from pollen, other common allergy-causing substances (allergens) are fungi, mould, mites and dust. Pollen of crops like jowar, bajra, congress grass, acacia (keekar), too, have emerged as common allergens. “Humidity levels are also rising with global warming, which has subsequently increased allergic reaction among people,” said Singh. The cases increase April-May and September-October, the harvesting period of various crops.

“Cases of severe asthma and prolonged asthma, too, have increased, with environment products being the common factor. Family history and genetic make-up are the two key factors that determine a person’s resistance level to allergens. The best cure to any allergy is to avoid exposure to the allergen,” said Singh. “Vaccines for allergies are also being devised world over. The first step to use these is to identify the real source of allergy. For instance, if someone is allergic to pollen, he needs to know pollen of which flower or crop he is allergic to,” he added.

In the three-day 35th annual conference of Environment Mutagen Society of India (EMSI) and International Symposium on Mutagens and Genetic Diversity for Health and Agriculture, the keynote address was delivered by Prof P K Seth, Chief Executive Officer, Biotech Park, Lucknow. Prof Emeritus A B Prasad of the Centre for Bioinformatics, Ranchi, lectured on the impact of environmental toxicants on human health.

From Indian Express

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