Lung health in era of climate change and dust storms

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Abstract

Dust storms are strong winds which lead to particle exposure over extensive areas. These storms influence air quality on both a local and global scale which lead to both short and long-term effects. The frequency of dust storms has been on the rise during the last decade. Forecasts suggest that their incidence will increase as a response to the effects of climate change and anthropogenic activities.

Elderly people, young children, and individuals with chronic cardiopulmonary diseases are at the greatest risk for health effects of dust storms. A wide variety of infectious and non-infectious diseases have been associated with dust exposure. Influenza A virus, pulmonary coccidioidomycosis, bacterial pneumonia, and meningococcal meningitis are a few examples of dust-related infectious diseases. Among non-infectious diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, sarcoidosis and pulmonary fibrosis have been associated with dust contact. Here, we review two molecular mechanisms of dust induced lung disease for asthma and sarcoidosis. We can also then further understand the mechanisms by which dust particles disturb airway epithelial and immune cells.

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