Increase in allergy may be linked to climate change, according to Italian doctors.
A six-year study in Italy registered a considerable increase in pollen seasons and the amount of pollen in the air, doctors told a meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology(AAAAI) in New Orleans.
The Genoa University team recorded pollen counts, the duration of pollen seasons and sensitivity to five types of pollen in the Bordighera region of Italy from 1981 to 2007.
"By studying a well-defined geographical region, we observed that the progressive increase of the average temperature has prolonged the duration of the pollen seasons of some plants and, consequently, the overall pollen load," the Telegraph quoted Dr. Walter Canonica, who worked on the study, as saying in a statement.
The researchers said the percentage of patients with reactions to the allergens increased throughout the study, however, it is not clear if more people are actually at the risk of developing allergies because of longer pollen seasons.
Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is a reaction to indoor or outdoor airborne allergens, such as pollen.
"Longer pollen seasons and high levels of pollen certainly can exacerbate symptoms for people with allergic rhinitis and for those who previously had minimal symptoms," said the AAAAI's stelle Levetin, who was not involved in the study.