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Study: Temperature changes can set off asthma, allergies

Category: Allergy Testing

The summer months can cause anxiety for asthma and allergy sufferers, as heat and humidity have been linked to higher emergency room referrals for symptomatic children, according to recent studies.

Researchers from the University of Michigan Asthma and Allergy Program found that days in which humidity levels rose by more than 10 percent and temperature levels increased by more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit resulted in significantly more children reporting asthma or allergy symptoms in Detroit area hospitals, HealthDay News reports.

The study, which reported 25,000 emergency room referrals for children in 2004 and 2005, was published in the September issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Dr Alan Baptist, the study's lead author, explained allergy testing revealed that "a 10 percent increase in humidity two days before the admission day was associated with one additional visit to the emergency department. For temperature, an inter-day change of 10 degrees one day before the admission resulted in two additional visits."

Aside from heat and humidity, researches noted that viral infections, air pollution, tobacco smoke and pollen can force the exacerbation of asthma and allergy symptoms. They also mentioned that cold air and general changes in weather are triggers for asthmatic reactions.

Symptoms: Beyond sniffing and sneezing

Researchers have noted that as many as 9 million children in the U.S. suffer from asthma, while over 50 million Americans endure allergy symptoms. For many, like those susceptible to hay fever, symptoms can include rashes, itchy eyes, and congestion. In more serious reactions, like anaphylaxis, symptoms can include painful cramps, dizziness and vomiting, according to WebMD.

Beyond these physical discomforts, allergies are able to creep further into the lives of those they afflict, sometimes altering the person's diet and even sex life, according to studies.

Dr Yong H. Tsai of the Daytona Beach News-Journal asserted that those with hay fever, an allergy to ragweed pollen, often experience similar allergic reactions to bananas, watermelons, cantaloupes, honeydews, zucchini and cucumbers. He explained that similar protein structures between ragweed and the foods cause a cross-reaction which makes some foods dangerous for patients.

To make matters worse for hay fever victims who wish to enjoy the fruit of their choice, common allergies have been reported to drastically disrupt the sex lives of those who are susceptible, research says. CNN Health reported that a study published in the Journal Allergy and Asthma Proceedings indicated that 83 percent of people with allergic rhinitis stated that their allergy symptoms affected sexual activity.

Remedies

While runny noses and itchy eyes are not sexy, these unfortunate symptoms are treatable.

A recent study published in Advances in Therapy explained the results of a 12-week study of 96 subjects with histories of seasonal allergies or allergic rhinitis during a period of high pollen concentration in the Midwest.

Clinical examinations, questionnaires and allergy testing revealed that a new drug, EpiCor reduces allergy symptoms and, according to researcher Dr Larry Robinson "keeps the immune system at a balanced state so that it can properly respond to pollen and allergens." He explained, "An over-stimulated immune system may result in allergies by mistaking harmless environmental substances such as pollen for an attacking parasite."

For those seeking a natural remedy, Dr Cliff Basset, director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York told ABC News that common vitamins and botanicals may be enough to curb allergy symptoms in some patients. Of note, vitamins C and E act as antioxidants on the lungs, while licorice root and pine bark extract have inflammatory properties.

The National Institutes of Health reports that skin tests, elimination-type tests, and blood tests are available to discern to which substances a person is allergic.
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