ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Indigo Ointment Benefits Psoriasis Patients
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Stem Cells Might Treat Tough Fractures
Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures
CANCER
Antioxidants Pose No Melanoma Threat
Smoking Exposure Now Linked to Colon, Breast Cancers
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
CAREGIVING
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
DIABETES
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Fruits, Vegetables, Teas May Cut Smokers' Cancer Risk
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Used Legs and Arms Like Birds
Smog Standards Need Tightening, Activists Say
Staying Slim Is Good for the Environment
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
Nearly 18 Million Will Have Macular Degeneration by 2050
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
FITNESS
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
Play Creatively as a Kid, Be a Healthier Adult
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
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Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Climate change isn't only bad for the Earth, it may be bad for your health -- especially if you have allergies or asthma.

Global warming is making pollen seasons last longer, creating more ozone in the air, and even expanding the areas where insects flourish, putting more people with bee allergies at greater risk, experts say.

"Climate change will cause impacts in every area. Wet areas will get wetter, and drier climates are getting drier," said Dr. Jeffrey Demain, director of the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Center of Alaska, and a clinical associate professor at the University of Washington.

Those changes will mean more people with allergies and asthma will suffer. In wet areas, mold allergies will spike, while in drier areas pollens and other airborne irritants will become more of a problem, he said.

Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it believes carbon dioxide and five additional greenhouse gases are dangerous to human health. This finding may eventually lead to environmentally friendly changes, such as regulations for cleaner energy and more fuel-efficient cars.

But, right now, problems caused by climate change are already evident, especially in Alaska, Demain said.

"There's been a significant shift in the ecosystem because of the rises in winter temperatures," he said. "On average, Alaska's temp has risen 6.4 degrees in winter and 3.4 degrees overall. And, the earlier the snow melts, the earlier the pollen cycle begins."

In addition to longer pollen seasons, the plant and tree life is changing along with the warmer temperatures. Demain said it's estimated that 90 percent of the Alaskan tundra will be forested by 2100, and that the types of trees that are most common are changing, too.

The warmer temperatures are also attracting insects. In the past, Alaska hasn't had too many stinging insects. But, said Demain, northern Alaska has recently seen a 620 percent increase in the number of people seeking care for bee stings.

Although Alaska's experience may be more dramatic than the rest of the United States, it's definitely not the only region that's experiencing change.

"We're having warmer, wetter winters, which lead to long springs and an increase in seasonal allergens," said Dr. David Peden, director of the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Peden also said that ozone levels are higher, which causes more asthma symptoms.

So, what can you do to protect yourself? Both Peden and Demain said that just being aware of the problem is the first step. Next, is to be sure you know specifically what you're allergic to, and then be aware of pollen and mold cycles so you can properly adjust your behavior when those levels are high.

"Pollens are usually highest in the mornings, but grass is elevated in the morning and evening. If you're tree- or weed-allergic, plan outdoor activities for the afternoon or evening. If you're grass-allergic, you might want to plan to be outside midday. Warm, sunny, dry days are usually the ones with the greatest pollen," Demain said.

Of course, it's not always possible to stay indoors, and treatments are available that can help you live with allergies and asthma.

"As mundane as this sounds, if you have allergic disease or asthma, consult with an allergist so that you have maximal therapy and information on seasonal concerns. If you're in an area with lengthy pollen seasons, allergy shots might be useful," Peden said.

"The climate is changing, and it's changing at an unprecedented rate. Whether it's a natural cycle, or whether humans are the cause, we have to recognize that this is happening," said Demain, who added, "Every small step [such as using compact fluorescent bulbs or driving less] is important. If we all take that step, we can have a big impact."

More information

To track pollen levels near you, visit the National Allergy Bureau.



SOURCES: Jeffrey G. Demain, M.D., director, Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Center of Alaska, clinical associate professor, University of Washington, and adjunct professor, University of Alaska, Anchorage; David Peden, M.D., M.S., professor, pediatrics and medicine, associate chair for research, chief, Division of Immunology and Infectious Disease, and director, Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Last Updated: May 11, 2009

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