Summary of the article:
• The article discusses a recent study showing that children who have been exposed to air pollution and have asthma are more likely to develop severe symptoms than those without asthma.
• The study found that exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the first year of life was associated with a higher risk of hospitalization due to asthma exacerbation in later years.
• Air pollutants can cause inflammation in the lungs, which can lead to poor health outcomes for asthmatics.
Asthma and Air Pollution Study
A new study has shown that children who suffer from asthma and are exposed to air pollution may be more likely to experience severe symptoms than those without the condition. The research, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, looked at how levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) during early childhood could affect future health outcomes for asthmatics.
The researchers used data from two long-term studies following 1,737 children born between 1998 and 2004, based primarily in California’s San Joaquin Valley. During their first year of life, these children were monitored for levels of PM2.5 – a type of air pollutant made up mainly of dust, soot and smoke particles small enough to be inhaled into the lungs – as well as other environmental contaminants such as ozone and nitrogen dioxide.
The researchers then followed up with these same children over an 11-year period (from 2006–16), tracking any hospitalizations they experienced due to an asthma attack or exacerbation.
The results showed that those who had been exposed to higher levels of PM2.5 during their first year were more likely to be hospitalized due to an acute episode or exacerbation later on in childhood compared with those who had not been exposed at all or had only been exposed at lower levels.
This suggests that air pollution during early childhood may have long-term health implications for young people with asthma by increasing inflammation in their lungs and making them more vulnerable to severe symptoms when they encounter triggers like allergens or irritants later on down the line.
These findings point towards the importance of reducing exposure to pollutants – particularly among those with respiratory conditions like asthma – in order reduce risks for serious health consequences down the road.