The role of the Climate Crisis in allergies

Alongside the genetic factors, environmental factors play an important role in the onset of atopy

by Lorenzo Ciotti
The role of the Climate Crisis in allergies

The mechanism of the allergic reaction involves antibodies and immunoglobulins E, which bind to allergens and receptors on mast cells or basophils where they cause the release of inflammatory chemicals such as histamine. The diagnosis of allergies is made through skin or blood tests, while treatment is based on the prevention of exposure and the use of drugs such as steroids and antihistamines.

In more severe reactions, adrenaline (epinephrine) is used. Allergies are common conditions. In developed countries, about 20% of people have allergic rhinitis, about 6% of people have at least one food allergy, and about 20% have atopic dermatitis.

Depending on the country, around 1-18% of people have asthma. Anaphylaxis occurs in between 0.05 and 2% of people. Alongside the genetic factors, environmental factors play an important role in the onset of atopy. The study: Climate change and allergies, published on the Allergo journal international, explained: "The climate crisis poses a major challenge to human health as well as the healthcare system and threatens to jeopardize the medical progress made in recent decades.

change may also be the greatest opportunity for global health in the 21st century. The climate crisis and its consequences, such as rising temperatures, forest fires, floods, droughts, and changes in the quality and quantity of food and water, directly and indirectly affect human physical and mental health.

More intense and frequent heat waves and declining air quality have been shown to increase all-cause mortality, especially among the most vulnerable. Climate warming alters existing ecosystems and favors biological invasions by species that better tolerate heat and drought.

Pathogen profiles are changing, and the transmission and spread of vector-borne diseases are increasing ophytes in Europe, such as ragweed, is creating new pollen sources that increase allergen exposure for allergy sufferers.

In addition, the overall milder weather, especially in combination with air pollution and increased CO2 levels, is changing the production and allergenicity of pollen. The phenomenon of thunderstorm asthma is also occurring more frequently.

In view of the increasing prevalence of allergic diseases due to climate change, early causal immunomodulatory therapy is therefore all the more important. During a climate consultation, patients can receive individual advice on climate adaptation and resilience and the benefits of CO2 reduction-for their own and the planet's health.

Almost 5% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Europe come from the healthcare sector. It thus has a central responsibility for a climate-neutral and sustainable transformation. "