Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How Asthma can be exacerbated by being in an urban city: Pollution + Pollen

Asthma is sadly one of the most debilitating conditions in America. It affects adults and children alike and according to the Center for Disease Control there are some 14 million school days lost each year as a result of asthma. Families are inconvenienced by having to drop everything to look after their child, requiring parents to take time off work, and in the worst cases, becoming one of the approximately two million asthma related emergency-room visits every year.
City dwellers are at even more risk of asthma attacks due to increased environmental factors such as heavy traffic, tightly condensed living quarters and parks with pollen producing trees and grasses. Back in 2002, research showed that up to 30% of childhood asthma is due to environmental factors and that constant exposure to air pollution can be a significant contributing factor to the development of asthma in previously healthy people.
Dr. Jason Price is a pediatric pulmonologist at Hudson Allergy and he knows what to look for when evaluating asthma symptoms in New York City’s children.
“There are four main kinds of air pollutants that city dwellers need to be aware of and monitor”, said Dr. Price.
“Ground Level Ozone is common in many urban centers and cities. It can trigger attacks and make existing asthma worse. It is created when pollution from traffic reacts with oxygen and sunlight and is a particular hazard to children as they usually spend more time outdoors than their parents, while at school and playing.
Sulfur Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxide are two of the other main respiratory irritants that can trigger attacks. They are created and released when coal and oil are burned. Diesel engines that use high-sulfur fuels tend to release this pollutant into the air.
The fourth type of pollutant is called Particulate Matter. This is the term that allergy professionals use when we talk about large pollutant particles like soot, ash, smoke and dust that can accumulate and build up in the lungs, making future attacks more likely.”
There are several things that Dr. Price and the other physicians at Hudson Allergy can recommend or perscribe to prevent asthma attacks in both children and adults.
If you would like to find out more on how to minimize the effects of pollution and pollen on your allergies, come visit us in Tribeca and see how we can help. Click here to book an appointment on line or give us a call at 212-729-1283.