News Release

Asthma symptoms kicking up? Check your exposure to air pollution

New article shows individuals can improve asthma symptoms by avoiding air pollution

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (September 30, 2014) – People who suffer from asthma may think there's not a lot they can do to control their asthma besides properly taking medications and avoiding allergic triggers.

According to a new article in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), asthma sufferers can learn lessons about managing their asthma by examining their lifestyle. The woman described in the Annals article improved her asthma once she and her doctor determined her bike route to work was taking her on a more polluted route than necessary. The woman had recently moved from a rural community to a dense urban environment. She enjoyed biking to work, and her new route took her along streets with lots of traffic.

"This experience shows that allergists can integrate their knowledge of the effects of air pollution into individual patient care, particularly asthma action plans," said pulmonologist Chris Carlsten, MD, MPH, the paper's senior author. "Air pollution is known to be associated with worsening asthma symptoms, but sometimes changing routines with regard to exposure to air pollution can have a positive effect."

After the woman's bike route was analyzed, it was determined that 70 percent of her commute was in close proximity to major roadways. Her doctor recommended an alternate route by which only 15 percent of her time was within 300 meters of high-traffic roads. By following the new route over the next month, her asthma symptoms improved.

"Allergists are in a position to suggest ways asthma sufferers can reduce their exposure to air pollution," said allergist Michael Foggs, president of ACAAI. "And it's important for people with asthma to discuss everything with their allergist that might be contributing to their worsening symptoms – whether they think it's a factor or not. Patients have the best information about themselves."


For more information about asthma treatment and to locate an allergist in your area, visit

More news and research from ACAAI will be released during the 2014 Annual Scientific Meeting, November 6-10 at The Georgia World Congress Convention Center in Atlanta. To register for the meeting, go to ACAAI Annual Meeting. Media may also call 847-427-1200, or e-mail


The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

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