More Canadians suffer from allergies due to climate change

More Canadians suffer from allergies due to climate change

More Canadians may suffer from allergies due to climate change

Experts link increased concentrations of pollen in the air to global warming.

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Experts expect the number of people with seasonal allergies to continue to rise over the next few years, mainly due to climate change.

For two years, for Daniela Mora-Fisher and her husband, rushing their young child to the hospital has become the norm. “A cold becomes wheezing. Wheezing becomes a seizure,” she sums up.

Julian, now 3 years old, has suffered from respiratory distress since he was probably 18 months old, like his mother explains.

Daniela Mora-Fisher, a foreign-trained doctor who now works as a researcher at a Toronto medical office, thinks a combination of allergies and viruses could trigger what could be fever. x27;asthma.

She says the specialists at her local hospital have seen Julian in their asthma clinic, but they have to wait for him to wait. he is old enough to do the necessary breath tests to confirm this.

Mrs. Mora-Fisher and her husband have done everything they can to reduce potential allergens, including moving out of an old house to try and get away from the mold and heavy bus traffic which, according to her, could have polluted the air.

Allergies in children and adults have certainly increased in recent years, according to Dr. Susan Waserman, director of the service of Clinical Allergy-Immunology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

“We've seen this for decades […] It's eczema. It's allergic rhinitis. It's asthma. It's a food allergy. That's really all.

— Susan Waserman, Director of Clinical Allergy-Immunology at McMaster University

Much of the rise in allergies and asthma can be directly linked to climate change, says Melissa Lem, a family physician in Vancouver and president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for environment (ACEP).

According to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, climate change is the main culprit of an allergy season starting on average 20 days earlier in North America, with pollen loads up 21%.

This is consistent with data collected by Aerobiology, a Canadian company that monitors airborne allergens such as pollen and mold spores.

We see much more pollen and higher concentrations more pollen in the air year after year, says Aerobiology spokesperson Daniel Coates.

“Pollen reacts to warm weather. The warmer the weather, the more pollen there is usually in the air. So there seems to be a correlation between the amount of pollen in the air and the warmer weather we are having due to climate change. »

— Daniel Coates, spokesperson for Aerobiology

Dr. Susan Waserman is seeing an increase in allergies in young children.

Dr. Waserman testifies that she is seeing more allergies in young children than ever before.

We used to think that pollen allergy didn't show up until about age 5. I see a lot of environmental allergies a few years earlier than that now, she asserts.

“There are more people, and allergies start earlier.

— Susan Waserman, Director of Clinical Allergy-Immunology at McMaster University

Pollen is not the only allergy exacerbated by climate change, as Dr. Lem points out.

Flooding can lead to more mold in homes and more dampness, and people with mold allergies can have more allergies indoors, she explains.

We also know that what causes climate change also increases allergies, she adds.

Burning fossil fuels releases more inhalable particles into the air. In addition to directly irritating people's respiratory systems, pollutants can trigger the release of immunoglobulin E, which is associated with allergic reactions in the body, says Dr. Melissa Lem.

Climate change is directly linked to an increasing number of wildfires in Canada, which is also contributing to the problem, she further notes.

Cecilia Sierra-Heredia, a researcher who studies environmental health and childhood allergies and asthma at Simon Fraser University (SFU), agrees.

< p class="e-p">The assumption is that it's a double exposure that children grow up with, she says.

There's more pollen in the air, more particulates, more pollution that inflames the airways and kind of primes their respiratory tissues and immune systems to develop allergies and allergy. asthma, she says.

A text by Nicole Ireland, The Canadian Press