Allergy :: Secondhand smoke can exacerbate allergies

After conclusive evidence that secondhand smoke increases the risk of cancer, comes the findings of a latest study that claims that it also exacerbates allergic airway disease in human beings.

The study, entitled ?Challenge with environmental tobacco smoke exacerbates allergic airway disease in human beings? has been published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) web site.

According to David Diaz-Sanchez, PhD, University of California ? Los Angeles, and his colleagues, the study provides the first experimental evidence that secondhand smoke can exacerbate allergic responses, and also suggest that patients with allergies should avoid tobacco smoke.

In the study conducted on 19 nonsmokers with ragweed allergy ,each of them underwent a nasal rinse, the fluid from which was collected for testing.

The study participants then spent two hours in a chamber where they were either exposed to secondhand smoke or clean air. Following this they were exposed to either ragweed or a placebo.

Four days after exposure to ragweed/secondhand smoke, levels of antibodies were 16.6 times higher in the nasal fluid than for study participants who were exposed to ragweed/clean air. Nasal histamine levels were also 3.3 times higher for those exposed to ragweed/secondhand smoke, as compared to those who were exposed to ragweed/clean air.

Based on their findings the authors conclude that secondhand smoke could interact with allergens and alter the immune system?s response.

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