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Temperature changes may worsen asthma

Wednesday September 30th, 2009

By Jane Collingwood
Allergy experts have found new evidence that changes in the weather can trigger asthma attacks.

Asthma patients often say that fluctuations in the weather are a major trigger of attacks, and now the research supports this belief.

Dr Nana Mireku of Dallas Allergy Immunology private practice, USA, and her team used information on 25,401 children who needed emergency hospital treatment for an asthma attack.

They found that a ten per cent increase in humidity, a day or two earlier, was linked to at least one extra incident. Changes in temperature, on the same day or the day before, also seemed to increase the risk. A ten degrees Fahrenheit increase was linked to 1.8 additional visits.

Details are published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Dr Mireku said: "We found a strong relationship between temperature and humidity fluctuations with paediatric asthma exacerbations.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study that demonstrated these correlations after controlling for levels of airborne pollutants and common aeroallergens.

"Our study is also one of the few to examine the possibility that the weather one or two days before the asthma exacerbation may be as important as that on the day of admission, as the additional emergency department visits occur one to two days after the fluctuation."

She added that the latest asthma guidelines from the US National Institutes of Health list "change in weather" as a possible risk for asthma attacks, but this is the best evidence so far of the effect.

Mireku, N. et al. Changes in weather and the effects on pediatric asthma exacerbations. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Vol. 103, September 2009, pp. 220-24.

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | North America | Child Health

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