Climate change linked to rise in asthma and allergy disorders
The effects of climate change could be the responsible factor in recent spikes in asthma and allergy disorder prevalence, spectrum and severity. Allergic diseases now affect nearly 30 percent of the world’s population, with the largest growth in low- and middle-income countries, wrote Dr Marc E. Rothenberg, director of the division of allergy and immunology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, in an editorial in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, after analysing the asthma exacerbation rates during heat waves, especially in patients with lower socioeconomic status. Early life exposure to air pollution increases sensitization to aeroallergens, and food allergens promote eczema and worsens asthma. This also increases the permeability of the respiratory tract and decreases antiviral host defence mechanisms. The editorial stressed on the need for greater focus on environmental measures, though further research is needed to confirm the link between climate change and allergy epidemics.