The effect of mold sensitization and humidity upon allergic asthma

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Abstract

Introduction:

Humidity is commonly associated with increased airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma.

Objective:

To examine mold sensitization in patients with allergic asthma or allergic rhinitis and self-reports of humidity as exacerbating factors of clinical symptoms.

Methods:

A retrospective, cross-sectional study at a University hospital outpatient allergy and asthma clinic was performed. A total of 106 patients with either allergic asthma or allergic rhinitis completed standard prick-puncture skin testing with 17 allergens and controls and completed standardized forms addressing trigger factors for clinical symptoms.

Results:

Allergic asthmatics sensitized to Cladosporium were more likely to have a more severe asthma severity class (odds ratio = 4.26, confidence interval = 1.30–16.93). Sensitization to Alternaria, Cladosporium, Helminthosporium, Aspergillus and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus in asthma was associated with higher likelihood for previous hospitalization, while sensitization to Cladosporium, Helminthosporium, Aspergillus, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and cockroach in asthma was associated with higher likelihood of having reduced pulmonary function based on forced expiratory volume in 1 s. Furthermore, allergic asthmatics more commonly reported humidity as an exacerbating factor of symptoms than did patients only with allergic rhinitis (68.42% vs 42.86%, respectively; P < 0.05).

Conclusion:

Mold sensitization is highly associated with more severe asthma, while humidity is more of an exacerbating factor in patients with allergic asthma as compared with allergic rhinitis alone. Further delineation between mold sensitization and humidity is needed to determine whether these are independent factors in asthma.

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