Air Quality and Pollen Allergy
Many studies have been done to determine whether air quality can enhance allergy and asthma symptoms. These population studies have shown comparisons between urban and rural areas. What the studies have shown is that there was a positive correlation with the higher amount of pollutants in the air and the severity of allergy and asthma symptoms seen in the population with the same amount of pollen exposure in both groups. Why is this? This is a confounding question that allergists and research scientists are trying to understand.
Urban Vs Rural
Things we know about this is that the higher the concentration of air pollutants and pollens, the more it stimulates the immune system. We see poorer asthma and allergy control in inner-city/urban areas than rurally when you would think this might be opposite since the rural communities are typically surrounded by pollens and animal danders. There are non-allergic triggers as well that can lead to chronic sinus congestion which include smoke, dust, fragrances, exhaust etc.. which can be more prevalent in the bigger cities.
To push this further scientists are looking at the effects of climate change on our health in regards to allergies and asthma. As the globe gets warmer, the abundance of pollen climbs higher and the pollen seasons get longer. With the increasing human population, we will see more air quality issues. This combination leads to increasing allergy and asthma troubles for future generations.
What can be done? Although we don’t know all the answers, it is important to realize how our air quality can affect our health and we need to protect our planet by using less fossil fuels and being more environmentally friendly. This is a good place to start. If we can work together to reduce CO2 emissions we may help our future children lead less allergic lives and have less breathing troubles but it’s up to us to begin the change!