Climate Change and Allergic Disease | Allergist Tysons Corner VA
The Allergists Tysons Corner VA Trust Explain the Effects of Climate Change on Your Allergies
The climate in places like Tysons Corner, VA, Falls Church, VA, and Gainesville, VA, as well as the rest of the Washington, DC metropolitan area, plays a significant role in producing allergens that annoy sensitized individuals. The DC metro area was built on a swamp and there tends to be high counts of mold spores throughout the year, particularly from the Spring through the Fall. Our humid Summers also account for excessive mold growth. Pollen production is also a major problem in the Washington, DC metro area, mostly in the Spring and Fall.
Though there are still some unresolved controversies, the preponderance of evidence indicates that our climate has steadily changed over the past several decades and it is likely to continue to change in the near future. This climate change has the potential to alter the incidence and severity of allergic and respiratory diseases in humans in the following ways:
- Climate warming and higher carbon dioxide levels will lead to longer pollen seasons.
- More hot summer days will generate ozone which triggers more flare-ups of breathing difficulties for people with chronic respiratory conditions like asthma.
- With rising sea levels and changes in rainfall patterns, mold allergies are likely to increase.
- Warming conditions may lead to the increased prevalence of biting and stinging insects, as well as the potential for more infectious tropical diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes (e.g., Zika virus, chikungunya, dengue fever, encephalitis, malaria).
- The effect of fewer cold winter days on respiratory infections from viruses and bacteria is unpredictable.
More energy efficient and tighter homes will lead to an increase in indoor air pollution. Accumulation of volatile organic compounds, radon gas, smoke, particulates, and protein allergens will increase the risk of respiratory illnesses. In addition, higher water vapor and moisture levels will increase dust mite populations and cause an escalation of mold growth.
“Green practices” like composting facilities may cause increased respiratory diseases through the increased fungal burden that they put into the air. Burning wood produces harmful chemicals including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, and formaldehyde. Inhaling particles coated with these chemicals contribute to asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (i.e., bronchitis, emphysema).
Ragweed flowers earlier and produces more pollen in urban locations where carbon dioxide concentrations and temperatures are higher. The same effect can be seen with other allergenic species including poison ivy.
Whatever the coming changes may bring, a few proven environmental control measures such as keeping the indoor humidity lower to limit dust mite and mold growth, as well as decreasing outdoor activities on high pollen days, can help minimize allergic symptoms and reduce the need for medications.
Contact a Top Allergist Tysons Corner VA Relies On
The board certified allergists Tysons Corner VA trusts at Black & Kletz Allergy see patients from Tysons Corner, VA, Falls Church, VA, and Gainesville, VA as well as many other cities and towns in the Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland metropolitan area. They are ready to work with you in teaching you how to improve your environment which subsequently will help relieve your allergic and asthmatic symptoms. The allergy doctors at Black & Kletz Allergy treat both adults and children. We have offices in Washington, DC, McLean, VA (Tysons Corner, VA), and Manassas, VA. All of our offices offer on-site parking and the Washington, DC and McLean, VA locations are Metro accessible. There is a free shuttle that runs between our McLean, VA office and the Springhill metro station on the silver line. Please call one of our convenient offices to make an appointment or if you prefer, you can click Request an Appointment and we will respond within 24 hours. Black & Kletz Allergy has been providing excellent allergy and asthma care to the general population of the greater DC area for more than 50 years in a caring and professional setting.