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Rising Heat, Humidity Raise Risk of Asthma Flares
Date:9/22/2009

Weather changes send more wheezing youngsters to the ER, study finds

TUESDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Although many parents already know that changes in the weather can cause their children's asthma symptoms to flare up, a new study backs up their intuition.

If the humidity levels in the air rose by more than 10 percent or if the temperature increased by more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit in a single day, more children ended up in the emergency department of a Detroit hospital reporting asthma symptoms, the new research found.

"Parents need to be mindful of days when there are dramatic changes in temperature or humidity. A child's asthma may flare more on those days," said study senior author Dr. Alan Baptist, director of the University of Michigan asthma program, in Ann Arbor.

The findings were published in the September issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

As many as 9 million children in the United States have asthma, according to the background information in the study. There are numerous known triggers that can exacerbate the inflammatory airway disease, including viral infections, air pollution, exposure to tobacco smoke and airborne allergens, such as pollen, the study authors noted.

Baptist said that another asthma trigger reported by many parents is weather changes. While some past studies have looked at this phenomenon, Baptist and his colleagues pointed out that none of the previous studies controlled for air pollution and airborne allergens.

For the current study, the researchers reviewed data from two years of emergency department admissions for asthma at Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. During the study time period -- Jan. 1, 2004 through Dec. 31, 2005 -- more than 25,000 youngsters between the ages of 1 and 18 were admitted for an asthma exacerbation, according to the study. That works out to about 35 children a day, according to
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