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Air Pollution and Humidity Are Potent Triggers of Asthma, But Sufferers Credit Symptoms to More Visible Factors
[June 29, 2022]

Air Pollution and Humidity Are Potent Triggers of Asthma, But Sufferers Credit Symptoms to More Visible Factors


Breezometer, the company that delivers street-level air quality data and informed lifestyle recommendations to consumers in 100+ countries, today shares the results of its 2022 Asthma Awareness Report. The new study reveals the top three cities in the U.S. with the most difficult air quality conditions for asthma, as well as other outdoor and indoor air quality triggers of asthma. BreezoMeter consulted its historical air quality index, as well as direct insights from consumers around their triggers and how they cope with them in partnership with global technology company Airthings, creators of indoor air quality and radon monitors for homeowners, businesses and professionals.

Asthma Hotspots in the U.S. Show High Levels of PM2.5 and Humidity
BreezoMeter's research seeks to better understand how asthma sufferers think about and react to environmental triggers in the places where they most frequently occur. The research reveals that Indianapolis, IN; Houston, TX; and Nashville, TN have the highest concentration of particulate matter (PM2.5) and humidity levels. PM2.5 and humidity are two of the most potent, yet relatively lesser known, triggers of asthma symptoms.

Toxic PM2.5 particles-invisible to the naked eye and small enough to get deep into the lungs-are triggering for asthma sufferers as they cause inflammation and oxidative stress in the airways, similar to the inflammation caused by smoking. PM2.5 particles primarily come from transportation exhaust (e.g., pollution from trucks, buses and trains); the burning of fuels (e.g., wood burning, heating oil and coal) and natural sources (e.g., wildfires). As for humidity, increased moisture in the air can directly irritate the airways. Common allergens that aggravate allergic asthma, like dust mites and mold, also thrive in humid air.

A High Majority of Asthma Sufferers Alter Their Daily Routines to Avoid Environmental Triggers
Ninety-one percent (91%) of asthma sufferers don't have a quick fix to make their asthma tolerable during the day. Instead, they completely adjust their day-to-day routines and lifestyles. Sixty-three percent (63%) of asthma sufferers say they stay indoors and 58% simply rest. This is closely followed by limiting their exercise routines (48%), reducing workload (40%) nd using Air Quality (AQ) apps (30%) to monitor asthma triggers like pollen outdoors before resuming their regular routines.



The likelihood of staying indoors to avoid asthma triggers increases with the age of asthma sufferers. Fifty-five percent (55%) of 18-24 year olds choose to stay indoors as part of adjusting their day for their asthma, followed by 63% of 25-34 year olds, 65% of 35-44 year olds, 79% of 45-54 year olds and 84% of 55-64 year olds.

While 91% of people report having to adjust their daily routine to contain asthma symptoms, only 67% of asthma sufferers actually track their asthma symptoms, which can help sufferers manage their condition in a more proactive manner.


"Asthma sufferers don't necessarily need to avoid the outdoors completely, as air quality can change drastically within meters or miles of where they're located. Just because they see high pollen levels, for instance, within their direct location, doesn't mean that the conditions are the same even a mile away," said Ran Korber, CEO and Co-founder, BreezoMeter. "When asthma sufferers understand how the quality of the air they breathe can differ so drastically between one place and another, they can better predict environmental triggers and eliminate the need to put their lives on hold for days or months at a time."

Asthma Sufferers Overlook Indoor Air Quality; Most Say Their Asthma Symptoms Are Triggered More by Outdoor Air
Seventy-two percent (72%) of asthma sufferers report that they associate asthma triggers more frequently with outdoor air than indoor air. There are, however, many activities that do cause harmful air quality such as candle burning, cooking, and using certain types of chemical cleaning products. Outdoor air pollution also commonly migrates indoors through open doors, windows, ventilation shafts, and cracks.

Airthings found that 72% of asthma sufferers named indoor dust as the top indoor environmental factor to trigger asthma, followed by 54% of asthma sufferers naming pollen. Pet dander (39%), strong odors/scents (34%) and cooking or fire smoke (29%) were also named as indoor air factors likely to trigger asthma attacks.

Scientists today speak of the indoor-outdoor air pollution continuum to underline the fact that air quality shouldn't be thought about solely indoors or outdoors, but rather seen as two parts of a greater whole-people's daily air quality exposure.

"Asthma impacts millions of people around the world, but BreezoMeter's research shows that most don't know where to start when it comes to identifying and minimizing the triggers that cause it," said Oyvind Birkenes, CEO, Airthings. "The reality is that indoor air quality can often be just as bad, or worse, than outdoor air, and contains higher levels of common asthma triggers like dust and pet dander. Nobody wants conditions like asthma to prevent them from enjoying their lives, and that's why we believe the most powerful and effective tool is awareness. By monitoring indoor air quality, anyone can gain insight into the unique conditions inside their home and take the necessary steps to foster a healthier, more comfortable indoor environment - and ultimately, minimize their asthma symptoms."

The full 2022 Asthma Awareness Report and methodology can be found here.

About BreezoMeter
BreezoMeter improves the health and safety for billions of people worldwide, by providing accurate and actionable environmental data and insights. The company transforms live environmental intelligence into actionable insights and delivers them to consumers through mobile apps, smart home IoT devices, cars and other connected experiences. Brands like Apple, Volvo and AstraZeneca rely on BreezoMeter to provide real-time air quality data to their customers, so they can make informed decisions about when to go outside, how to best protect themselves, which travel routes to take, and even where to live. BreezoMeter uses AI and machine learning to gather and understand data from multiple sources - including more than 49,000 sensors worldwide. The result is street-level air quality resolution (within 5 meters), and pollen, pollutants and fire data, in more than 100 countries.

About Airthings
Airthings is a global technology company and producer of award-winning radon and indoor air quality monitors for homeowners, businesses, and professionals. Founded in 2008, Airthings is on a mission to ensure that people around the world recognize the impact of indoor air quality and take control of their health through simple, affordable, and accurate technology solutions while optimizing energy consumption in buildings. Airthings' products have made radon detection and indoor air quality monitoring easy to deploy, accurate, and user friendly, and have received several accolades including the TIME Best Inventions Award and CES Innovation Award Honors. Headquartered in the heart of Oslo, Norway, and with offices in the US and Sweden the company has over 140 employees from more than 30 nationalities-and counting. To see the full range of Airthings indoor air quality monitors and radon detectors or to learn more about the importance of continuous air quality monitoring, please visit airthings.com.


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