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As hundreds of wildfires in Canada drive haze and smoke across the East Coast, patients and providers alike may worry about the effect on their health, including asthma and other illnesses.

Healio has compiled a list of recent articles about the impact that wildfires have on health both inside the asthma and allergy specialty and beyond.

air quality information

Image: National Weather Service

Wildfires impact urban residents with respiratory allergies

Wildfires outside of Monterey, Mexico, in the spring of 2021 affected upper airway symptoms as well as rhinitis control assessment tests and forced expiration volume in 1 second values among residents of the city. Read more.

Bushfires appear to affect lung function of children with asthma

Children with asthma exposed to bushfire smoke demonstrated a clinically important 5% mean decrease in forced vital capacity percent predicted, according to a study published in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology in November 2022. Read more.

Wildfires prompt more visits to clinics for atopic dermatitis, itch among older adults

Clinic visits for itch and atopic dermatitis increased among adults aged 65 years and older during the California Camp Fire in 2018 compared with weeks without wildfire, according to a research letter published in JAMA Network Open in October 2022. Read more.

Higher risk for tuberculosis diagnosis with wildfire smoke exposure

Erika M. Moseson

Heightened odds for a tuberculosis diagnosis were related to exposure to ambient air pollution that included wildfire smoke, including 23% increased odds for TB with each air pollution event related to wildfires over 6 months, according to results published in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Also, Erika M. Moseson, MD, shares her Perspective. Read more.

Link between wildfire smoke, preterm birth driven by spontaneous preterm birth

Each additional day of wildfire smoke exposure in California was associated with 0.3% greater odds of spontaneous preterm birth, with an average of 7.5 days of exposure from 4 weeks before conception to 20 weeks’ gestation, among other impacts presented at The Pregnancy Meeting in February. Read more.

Wildfire air pollution may adversely affect IVF outcomes

Embryos had a lower blastocyst yield when exposed to wildfire smoke during development, although exposure to wildfire smoke did not appear to affect outcomes for women undergoing ovarian stimulation, according to data presented at the ASRM Scientific Congress & Expo in October 2022. Read more.

Climate change cited as cause of recent increases in asthma, allergy prevalence

The effects of climate change including increases in PM2.5 pollution from wildfires may be responsible for recent increases in the prevalence of asthma and allergy disorders, Marc E. Rothenberg, PhD, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, told Healio. Read more.

CDC experts issue climate change information, resources for allergists, immunologists

Droughts resulting from climate change can increase the risk for wildfires, leading to increased respiratory symptoms for people with asthma due to smoke, the CDC said, adding that wildfires also may impact access to medications and medical services while making the refrigeration of perishable, allergen-free foods challenging as well. Read more.

Air pollution raises risk for first-year ED visits in preterm, full-term infants

Preterm and full-term infants faced similar elevated risks for ED visits in their first year when they were exposed to higher levels of fine particulate matter 2.5 um or less in diameter, including PM2.5 from wildfires, Anais Teyton, MPH, of the University of California, San Diego, told Healio. Read more.

Q&A: Particulate matter air pollution standards need to be stronger

Laura Kate Bender

Changing the current EPA standard for annual PM2.5 from wildfires and other sources from 12 µg/m3 to 9 µg/m3 and could save 4,200 lives a year, but a standard of 8 µg/m3 could save 9,200 lives, Laura Kate Bender, national assistant vice president of healthy air at the American Lung Association, told Healio. Read more.

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