Climate change is coming for our sinuses: If it continues at this rate, hay fever could double in the next 35 years, according to new research out of Europe.
Studying the spread of ragweed in particular, scientists estimate that the evil yellow weed will have larger pollen concentrations and longer pollen seasons, mostly due to our warming earth. They studied distribution, productivity, pollen production and dispersal of ragweed across Europe, and how the plant would be affected by climate change. This is the first study to quantify the impact of climate change on pollen and hay fever, with predictably grim results.
Not only will twice as many people sneeze all summer and fall by 2050, but controlling ragweed invasion is an expensive endeavor for public health, and Americans already spend $17.5 billion yearly on controlling the sniffles.
Although this study was done on European regions, it’s not difficult to make assumptions about implications for the U.S., as ragweed is found growing naturally in most of the country and is responsible for up to half of pollen-related allergies.