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Extreme heat, precipitation linked to more severe asthma requiring hospitalization

Hospitalization risk increased 23 percent during summer months, with kids at even greater risk

Date:
April 28, 2016
Source:
University of Maryland
Summary:
Extreme heat and heavy rainfall are related to increased risk of hospitalization for asthma in Maryland, according to a study. Based on over a decade of asthma hospitalization data (115,923 cases from 2000-2012), Researchers observed a 23 percent increase in risk of asthma hospitalizations when there was an extreme heat event during summer months. This risk was higher among 5-17 year olds.
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Extreme heat and heavy rainfall are related to increased risk of hospitalization for asthma in Maryland, according to a study by University of Maryland School of Public Health researchers.

Based on over a decade of asthma hospitalization data (115,923 cases from 2000-2012), researchers observed higher risk of asthma hospitalization after extreme heat or extreme precipitation events. The increases in risk were particularly high during summer months. Their findings are published in the journal Environmental Health.

"Previous scientific studies have shown that extreme weather events are becoming more common, more intense, and longer lasting in response to our changing climate. Our study shows is that increases in the number of extreme heat and extreme precipitation events, particularly during summer months, lead to more asthma hospitalizations in Maryland." said Dr. Amir Sapkota, senior author of the study and an associate professor at the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health.

Recent estimates suggest that over 430,000 adults and 125,000 children in Maryland are living with asthma. Researchers observed a 23% increase in risk of asthma hospitalizations when there was an extreme heat event during summer months. This risk was higher among 5-17 year olds. Similarly, extreme precipitation events during summer months increased the risk of asthma hospitalizations by 11%. "Our data show that the risk of hospitalization for asthma related to extreme weather varies across demographic subgroups in Maryland. We need to take such differences into account when designing public health responses to climate change," said Dr. Sutyajeet Soneja, a postdoctoral fellow at the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, and lead author of the study.

To identify extreme weather events, the researchers relied on county and calendar day specific thresholds for precipitation and maximum temperature (90th and 95th percentile, respectively) that were calculated based on 30 years of baseline data (1960-1989). The researchers suggest that extreme heat events during summer months may lead to higher concentration of harmful air pollutants such as ozone, which is known to exacerbate asthma. Extreme precipitation events may lead to release of pollen spores, leading to severe asthma attack and subsequent hospitalization.


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Materials provided by University of Maryland. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sutyajeet Soneja, Chengsheng Jiang, Jared Fisher, Crystal Romeo Upperman, Clifford Mitchell, Amir Sapkota. Exposure to extreme heat and precipitation events associated with increased risk of hospitalization for asthma in Maryland, U.S.A.. Environmental Health, 2016; 15 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s12940-016-0142-z

Cite This Page:

University of Maryland. "Extreme heat, precipitation linked to more severe asthma requiring hospitalization: Hospitalization risk increased 23 percent during summer months, with kids at even greater risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160428152322.htm>.
University of Maryland. (2016, April 28). Extreme heat, precipitation linked to more severe asthma requiring hospitalization: Hospitalization risk increased 23 percent during summer months, with kids at even greater risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 28, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160428152322.htm
University of Maryland. "Extreme heat, precipitation linked to more severe asthma requiring hospitalization: Hospitalization risk increased 23 percent during summer months, with kids at even greater risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160428152322.htm (accessed May 28, 2017).

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