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Changes in onset of spring linked to more allergies across US

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Christian Fernsby |
allergies
America   The study was based on over 300,000 respondents

Human-induced climate change is disrupting nature's calendar, including when plants bloom and the spring season starts, and new research from the University of School of Public Health suggests we're increasingly paying the price for it in the form of seasonal allergies.

The study, based on over 300,000 respondents between 2002 and 2013, shows that seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, increases when the timing of spring "greenup" changes.

The findings were published today in the journal PLOS ONE.

"We found that areas where the onset of spring was earlier than normal had 14% higher prevalence of hay fever," said Associate Professor Amir Sapkota in the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health.

"Surprisingly, we also found similar risk in areas where the onset of spring was much later than what is typical for that geographic location," he added.

The study provides the first national-level quantitative data showing how ongoing climate change is increasing the allergic disease burden in the United States.

Hay fever, or "seasonal allergic rhinitis," affects 25 million adults in the United States and results in $11.2 billion in related medical expenses annually.

Dr. Sapkota and his team used satellite data collected by NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to identify the start of the spring season throughout the US and linked these data to National Health Interview Survey data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


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