Living in locations closest to the equator can put people at increased risk of developing allergy and asthma due to higher UV-B rays exposure, according to a new study.
"UV-B rays exposure is higher for people living in areas closer to the equator. This increase in UV-B may be linked to vitamin D, which is thought to modify the immune system. These modifications can lead to an elevated risk of developing allergy and asthma," said Vicka Oktaria, MPH, lead study author.
Previous studies have shown that latitude can reflect a variation in airborne allergens due to climate, housing and social and cultural differences. This study is one of the first using the individuals latitude location and UV-B exposure to examine the association with allergy and asthma.
"Allergies and asthma are serious diseases that can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated properly. Both conditions can be more than bothersome for people, no matter their geographic location, and can last year-round," said allergist Richard Weber, MD, ACAAI president.
Board-certified allergists are the best-trained health professionals to perform testing and treat both asthma and allergic diseases effectively. According to ACAAI, many people that have an allergy also experience asthma symptoms. In fact, an estimated 75 to 85 percent of asthmatics have an allergy.
The new study has been released in the February issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).