Purpose of review
Respiratory allergy correlates strictly with air pollution and climate change. Due to climate change, the atmospheric content of trigger factors such as pollens and moulds increase and induce rhinitis and asthma in sensitized patients with IgE-mediated allergic reactions.
Pollen allergy is frequently used to evaluate the relationship between air pollution and allergic respiratory diseases. Pollen allergens trigger the release of immunomodulatory and pro-inflammatory mediators and accelerate the onset of sensitization to respiratory allergens in predisposed children and adults. Lightning storms during pollen seasons can exacerbate respiratory allergy and asthma not only in adults but also in children with pollinosis. In this study, we have focalized the trigger (chemical and biologic) factors of outdoor air pollution.
Environmental pollution and climate change have harmful effects on human health, particularly on respiratory system, with frequent impact on social systems.
Climate change is characterized by physic meteorological events inducing increase of production and emission of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Allergenic plants produce more pollen as a response to high atmospheric levels of CO2. Climate change also affects extreme atmospheric events such as heat waves, droughts, thunderstorms, floods, cyclones and hurricanes. These climate events, in particular thunderstorms during pollen seasons, can increase the intensity of asthma attacks in pollinosis patients.
Climate change has important effects on the start and pathogenetic aspects of hypersensitivity of pollen allergy. Climate change causes an increase in the production of pollen and a change in the aspects increasing their allergenic properties. Through the effects of climate change, plant growth can be altered so that the new pollen produced are modified affecting more the human health. The need for public education and adoption of governmental measures to prevent environmental pollution and climate change are urgent. Efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, chemical and biologic contributors to air pollution are of critical importance. Extreme weather phenomena such as thunderstorms can trigger exacerbations of asthma attacks and need to be prevented with a correct information and therapy.