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气候变化将使过敏症和哮喘病患者如芒在背

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核心提示:A carpenter bee forages for pollen on an azalea shrub in Wilmington, Del., May 8. Global warming is making the pollen season last longer and attracting insects, scientists say. Climate change isn't only bad for the Earth, it may be bad for your heal


A carpenter bee forages for pollen on an azalea shrub in Wilmington, Del., May 8. Global warming is making the pollen season last longer and attracting insects, scientists say.

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% 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% 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."

这是5月8日一只木匠蜂在特拉华州威尔明顿的杜鹃花从中搜寻花粉的情景。科学家们表示,气候变暖正在使花粉季节延长,并吸引了更多的昆虫。

气候变化不仅对地球有害,它也许对你的健康也有害——特别是如果你患有过敏症或哮喘病话。

专家们表示,全球变暖正在使花粉季节延长,空气中产生更多的臭氧,甚至扩大昆虫繁盛的区域,让更多对蜜蜂过敏的人处于更大的风险之中。

“气候变化将会对每一个地区产生影响。潮湿地区将会变得更潮湿,干燥气候将会变得更干燥,”阿拉斯加过敏、哮喘和免疫学中心主任、华盛顿大学临床副教授杰弗里·德美恩博士说。

这些变化意味着更多患有过敏症和哮喘病的人将会深受其害。他表示,在潮湿地区,真菌过敏将会快速增长;而在干燥地区,花粉和其它空气传播的刺激物将会成为更大的问题。

上个月,美国环境保护局宣布它确信二氧化碳和另外五种温室气体对人体有害。这个发现最终可能会导致有利于环境的变化,例如关于清洁能源和低油耗汽车的法规的出现。

但是,现在,由气候变化引起的问题已很明显了,特别是在阿拉斯加,德美恩说。

“由于冬季气温的升高,生态系统已经有了显著的变化,”他说:“平均起来,阿拉斯加的冬季气温已经升高了6.4度,而全年升高了3.4度。并且,雪化得越早,花粉周期开始得越早。”

除了更长的花粉季节外,植物和树木的生命力也正在随着变暖的气温而变化。德美恩说,到2100年,估计有90%的阿拉斯加冻土地带将会草木从生,并且最普通的树木的种类也将发生变化。

变暖的气温也会吸引昆虫。过去,阿拉斯加并没有多少螫刺昆虫。但是,德美恩说,最近已发现北阿拉斯加寻求蜂螫护理的人数增长620%。

虽然阿拉斯加的经验也许比美国其它地方更富戏剧性,但它绝对不是经历这种变化的唯一地区。

“我们拥有了温暖潮湿的冬季,这将导致春天延长和季节性过敏症的增加,”查伯尔希尔的北卡罗来那大学环境医学、哮喘与肺生物学中心主任大卫.佩登说。

佩登还说臭氧水平更高了,这将引起更多的哮喘症状。

那么,你能做些什么来保护自己呢?佩登和德美恩都说,意识到问题只是第一步。下一步是确切地知道你对什么过敏,然后是了解花粉和真菌的周期,以便当它们处于较高水平的时候你能适当地调整自己的行为。

“花粉通常在早晨达到最高水平,但草在早晨和晚间都很活跃。如果你对树木或杂草过敏,就将户外活动安排到下午或傍晚。如果你对草过敏,你可能想把外出安排在正午。(原文如此)温暖、阳光充足、干燥的天气通常有着最高水平的花粉,”德美恩说。

当然,不可能总是呆在户内,有能帮助你对付过敏症和哮喘的治疗方法。

“就象这个声音一样平常,如果你有过敏症或哮喘,去咨询过敏症医师吧,以便你能得到最大限度的治疗以及季节性的注意信息。如果你处在有着漫长的花粉季节的地区,过敏注射液可能有用,”佩登说。

“气候正在变化,并且以一种空前的速度在变化。不管它是一种自然的轮回,抑或是人类的原因,我们都必须认识到这种事情正在发生,”德美恩说,并补充到:“每一小步〔例如使用节能灯或减少用车〕都是重要的。如果我们都走出了那一小步,我们就能产生重要的影响。”

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