Dr. Anthony Szema is used to seeing patients with red eyes and runny noses. But in the past couple of years, the New York-based allergist has been faced with an onslaught of patients complaining their symptoms are starting earlier and hitting harder than ever before.
Szema believes climate change is a culprit in the extended severe allergy seasons. And he is one of a small number of physicians who are beginning to talk to their patients about it.
“I don’t go on a soapbox making a scientific case, but by the time patients come to my office, they pretty much understand something is going on,” he said. “They want to know why they are wheezing, why they have watery eyes and why their throats are swelling up. They understand the pollen season is worse this year.”
“I give multiple etiologies,” he said, referring to the causes of illness, “but climate change is one of them.”
As scientists solidify the links between climate change and health issues like tropical ailments that infect Americans on the backs of whipping winds and warming ocean tides, top medical associations are becoming a high-profile lobbying force for climate regulations.