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Keywords:

  • aeroallergen;
  • allergic rhinitis;
  • ambient air;
  • atopy;
  • fungal spore;
  • global warming;
  • greenhouse gas;
  • sensitization

Abstract

The degree to which aeroallergens are contributing to the global increase in pediatric allergic disease is incompletely understood. We review the evidence that links climate change to changes in aeroallergens such as pollen and outdoor mold concentrations and, subsequently, aeroallergen association with pediatric allergic disease. We specifically explore the evidence on both the exacerbation and the development of allergic disease in children related to outdoor pollen and mold concentrations. Pediatric allergic diseases include atopic dermatitis or eczema, allergic rhinitis or hay fever, and some types of asthma in children, typically defined as < 18 years of age. We discuss how the timing of aeroallergen exposure both in utero and in childhood could be associated with allergies. We conclude that the magnitude and type of health impacts due to climate change will depend on improved understanding of the relationship between climatic variables, multiple allergen factors, and allergic disease. Improved public-health strategies such as adequate humidity control, optimum air filtration and ventilation, and improved anticipatory public-health messaging will be critical to adaptation. Mt Sinai J Med 78:78–84, 2011. © 2011 Mount Sinai School of Medicine