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The impact of climate change and aeroallergens on children's health

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There are unequivocal data that climate change is occurring and that there are resulting health impacts. Climate change can affect the prevalence and severity of allergic and respiratory disorders through projected increases in the temporal and spatial distribution and concentrations of some aeroallergens. This study was designed to critique and summarize existing knowledge on asthma-related impacts of aeroallergen exposure on children in the United States and to provide suggestions about reducing the negative impacts of climate change through increasing education, adapting current management strategies, and modifying distribution channels. A review and synthesis of published literature was performed. Five studies identified evaluated the relationship between aeroallergens and particular symptoms and six evaluated use of the emergency department and hospital care for asthma. Little is known about the relationship between aeroallergens and particular asthma symptoms. However, overall, there appears to be evidence that weed pollen is significantly associated with asthma exacerbations and use of emergency and hospital services. Activities that can help mitigate the impact of additional climate change‐induced respiratory disease include continued research, physician and patient education, optimizing production and distribution, and actively considering the budgetary impact of increased prevalence and severity of respiratory disease. Although more research is needed on aeroallergens and respiratory disease, existing studies suggest that it will be essential to consider the health impacts on children. Strategies to reduce the impacts should be developed and implemented now.

Keywords: Air pollutants; allergies; asthma; bronchial diseases; climate change; environmental exposure; greenhouse effect; meteorological factors; pediatric

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Exponent, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia, USA.

Publication date: May 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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