Allergies and air pollution
As you may have heard, indoor environments can be 5-7x more polluted than outdoor environments. Our lives are shifting and becoming increasingly indoor (we spend 90% of our lives indoors on average). This is concerning because the more time we spend indoors, the more we are exposed to dangerous pollutants. Higher exposure to pollutants can put us at higher risk of a wide variety of health effects, varying from allergy sensitisation to cancer. Read below to learn more about how air pollution can make us more likely to develop respiratory allergies.
What is respiratory allergy?
An allergy is when your body misinterprets a harmless substance as dangerous, causing an adverse reaction and thus, as a result, produces an immune response and the release of antibodies. In summary, when your body experiences allergy symptoms, your immune system is responding to a false alarm1.
One in four people in the UK, or 16 million people, suffer from allergies, but what is more concerning is that these people are four times more likely to fall victim to conditions such as asthma, eczema, and food allergy. This number is on the rise. The number of people requiring a hospital visit due to severe allergic reaction in 2000 was seven times higher than in 1990, and the number of people admitted to hospital for anaphylaxis due to food allergy doubled from 2002-20122 . Naturally, this can cause fear and restrictive lives to those suffering from such conditions.
Air pollution’s effect on allergies
In Europe, a large percentage of the air pollution present in our outdoor air is caused by vehicles, diesel vehicles in particular. Diesel vehicles emit diesel exhaust particles (DEPs), 80% of which are in the ultrafine range (with a diameter of < 0.1μm). These particles, due to their small size, can easily enter the human respiratory system through inhalation, travelling quickly and easily throughout the rest of the body to make their way to the heart and, ultimately, the bloodstream. Moreover, they can change the chemical structure of aeroallergens; to provide a specific example, DEPs can cause pollen molecules to express a larger quantity of proteins considered to be allergenic. These changed pollen molecules can then release paucimicronic particles which, when transported by air, can easily penetrate the human airway3.
The pollutants which seem to have the strongest causative relationship with the incidence of allergic disorders (notably asthma and allergic rhinitis, among others) are ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter (PM). All of these pollutants are produced in high quantities in heavily trafficked and industrialised locations. According to studies, these molecules seem to change the gene structure of molecules involved in antioxidant pathways, modifying their response to air pollution and making it more difficult for humans to fight off its dangers4.
As previously mentioned, the number of people impacted by allergies continues to augment, and one study predicts that 1 in 2 people will suffer from allergies by the year 20505. In addition to allergies, air pollution can lead to a host of other respiratory and non-respiratory diseases including heart diseases, lung cancer, asthma, and chronic airway inflammation. Read more about respiratory diseases caused by air pollution here.
There are many types of contaminants found in our air that can induce or aggravate respiratory allergy symptoms. Some of these may include smoke (from cigarettes or wood-burning stoves), pollen, dust and dust mites, VOCs, formaldehyde, mould and spores, and pet dander.
Protect yourself with an Eoleaf air purifier
The best way to protect yourself from the dangers of outdoor and indoor pollution is to ensure that you are breathing fresh air in places where you spend the most time: indoors, in both your home and the workplace. An air purifier can enable you to breathe the best, pollutant-free air.
Here at Eoleaf, we specialise in high-quality air purifiers that can help you breathe fresh, purified air. All of our air purifiers contain HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters, the gold standard of air filtration. HEPA is a European certification overseen by European standards EN 1822 and EN ISO 29463. All Eoleaf devices come equipped with HEPA filters and can filter all fine particles down to the size of 0.01 µm. Furthermore, Eoleaf’s high-quality air purifiers contain a broad spectrum of filtration technologies and action, enabling them to rid your air of other allergy-inducing indoor contaminants including:
- Allergens (pollen, mould, pet dander, dust/dust mites)
- Fine particles and nanoparticles
- Smoke (from cigarettes or wood-burning stoves)
- Chemical pollutants
Reach out today to find the device that is perfect for your space! We are here to help.
1 Valeii, K., & More, D. (2021, November 22). What are respiratory allergies? Verywell Health. Retrieved December 12, 2022, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/respiratory-allergies-symptoms-causes-and-treatment-5206183
2 Why are allergies on the rise? Allergy statistics. Natasha Allergy Research Foundation. (2019). Retrieved December 12, 2022, from https://www.narf.org.uk/the-allergy-explosion
3 Bartra J, Mullol J, del Cuvillo A, Dávila I, Ferrer M, Jáuregui I, Montoro J, Sastre J, Valero A. Air pollution and allergens. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2007;17 Suppl 2:3-8. PMID: 18225705.
4 Takizawa H. Impact of air pollution on allergic diseases. Korean J Intern Med. 2011 Sep;26(3):262-73. doi: 10.3904/kjim.2011.26.3.262. Epub 2011 Sep 13. PMID: 22016586; PMCID: PMC3192198.
5 Pollution allergy – know diseases caused by Air Pollution. Allergy Free India. (2020). Retrieved January 13, 2023, from https://www.allergyfree.co.in/en-gb/know-your-allergy/outdoor-allergies/pollution