No matter what side of the debate you’re on, the earth’s climate and weather patterns are changing. And one thing is certain: these changes are affecting children with asthma. Studies show that air quality is worsening, temperatures are increasing, and plants are changing their behavior. Children are already more prone to sickness and disease, and climate change is only making it worse.
According to the World Health Organization, 80% of the climate change health burden falls on children less than 5 years old.This presents several issues for young asthmatics.
Climate Change Increases Asthma Triggers
Increases in greenhouses gases, such as carbon dioxide and CFCs, can worsen asthma symptoms in children. Vehicle exhaust and particulate matter remain trapped in the air. This means that breathing may become extremely difficult for those with respiratory conditions. Not only is the air quality worse, but the increase in carbon dioxide promotes greater pollen production from plants, which means more allergens in the air.
Another air pollutant called ground ozone, which results from certain fossil fuel byproducts being exposed to sunlight, can be found in higher levels due to increased temperatures. Studies have shown that inhaling ground ozone harms human lungs. It is also a known asthma trigger and an extreme irritant for those with any type of respiratory condition.
Another condition of climate change that has impacted young asthmatics is the increase in temperature. Warmer temperatures mean longer springs and longer growing seasons for many plants that emit allergens. Plants are pollinating more and for longer periods, which can increase asthma irritation for children.
Coping with Climate Change
Climate change has a real effect on children with asthma. It makes breathing more difficult and an attack more likely.Parents can work with their children’s physicians to help minimize the impact of the changing climate. Proper medication and a good plan for asthma emergencies can give kids hope for reduced asthma attacks in the midst of climate change.
An Asthma Doctor that Makes a Difference
Consulting an experienced asthma doctor can make a major difference in your child’s asthma symptoms. For more expert tips or asthma treatment, contact our pulmonologist. Dr. Mayank Shukla has reduced asthma-related emergency room visits up to 90% in the children he has treated.