Global Warming and Asthma | Turkey National Allergy and Clinical Immunology Association (AID), which implements a series of projects every year to raise awareness in the society about asthma and allergies, organized an online seminar titled “Life Threat: Anaphylaxis, Threat to Natural Life: Climate Change” as part of World Allergy Week. Experts who spoke on the topic of “Climate Change and Allergies,” the theme of this year’s World Allergy Week celebrated from June 18 to 24, 2023, shared noteworthy information about Turkey’s anaphylaxis map, emphasizing that global warming exacerbates asthma attacks.
According to the United Nations, the past decade (2011-2020) was the hottest recorded period, and each year continues to be hotter than the previous one. Due to the effects of global warming, there is an increase in asthma attacks due to the inhalation of hot air. Not only the lungs are affected but also the skin, leading to increased complaints in individuals with eczema and atopic dermatitis. Due to the influence of humidity and heat, the concentrations of allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and mold in the atmosphere increase, exposing us to more triggers and consequently increasing allergies.
During World Allergy Week, celebrated from June 18 to 24, 2023, Turkey National Allergy and Clinical Immunology Association (AID) conducted an important seminar on the topic of “the impact of climate change on allergic diseases.” Held in collaboration with the Allergy and Life Association on June 21, Wednesday, at 20:30 through AID’s YouTube channel, the live broadcast featured allergy and clinical immunology doctors who shared essential information to help patients identify triggers, prevent worsening of symptoms, and maintain their quality of life amidst environmental changes. Supported unconditionally by VEM Pharmaceuticals, the seminar began with an opening speech by AID President Prof. Dr. Dilşad Mungan. Moderated by AID Vice President Prof. Dr. Demet Can, the broadcast included presentations by Prof. Dr. Fazıl Orhan on the topic of Allergic Shock/Anaphylaxis, Özlem Ceylan, the President of the Allergy and Life Association, on the challenges faced by patients experiencing allergic shock, and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zeynep Çelebi on the impact of the climate crisis on allergies.
AYA Project Launched During World Allergy Week
AID President Prof. Dr. Dilşad Mungan mentioned the AYA Project, which they launched during World Allergy Week, stating its significance as follows: “With the AYA method, we aim to explain to individuals with allergies how to act in three simple steps if they experience anaphylaxis. These steps include: Apply the Adrenaline Pen, Lie Down and Elevate the Legs, Call Emergency 112! Let us not forget that not every medication or food may be suitable for you. Some of us may be affected differently by bee or insect stings. You may experience anaphylaxis, also known as allergic shock, which manifests itself with symptoms such as itching, swelling, shortness of breath, hoarseness, and fainting. If your doctor has recommended an adrenaline pen for such situations, you can follow the AYA steps calmly. You can also watch the AYA video, where you can find all these instructions, on our website and YouTube channel.”
TURKEY’S ANAPHYLAXIS MAP IS RELEASED:
NUTRITION, BEES, AND MEDICATIONS ARE THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF ANAPHYLAXIS
Professor Dr. Fazıl Orhan, who gave a speech at an online seminar and compiled the anaphylaxis (allergic shock) map of Turkey by gathering data from all allergy centers in the country, emphasized that anaphylaxis is a rapidly progressing condition that occurs suddenly, affecting multiple organ systems and posing a life-threatening situation. Orhan highlighted the potential of every anaphylactic reaction to endanger life, stating that all anaphylactic reactions should be treated with the same seriousness. Referring to their studies in which they mapped the anaphylaxis cases in Turkey, Orhan said, “In this study, we observed that especially in children, food, medications, and bee venom are the most common causes of anaphylaxis. In the first two years of life, we identified cow’s milk and eggs as the most frequent causes, followed by tree nuts at the third rank. As age progresses, seafood also becomes a factor. In the case of bee venom, we see that honeybee stings can cause anaphylaxis. In the medication category, we most commonly encounter penicillin group antibiotics. In adults, we often observe anaphylaxis caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are derived from aspirin. In terms of food, peanuts and walnuts can be the most common triggers for anaphylaxis in adults. Sometimes, there can be situations where we cannot identify the trigger despite having all the symptoms of anaphylaxis.”
Özlem Ceylan, the President of the Association of Living with Allergy, mentioned that while they used to hear about anaphylaxis from a few patients per year, they now started to hear about more cases, and she said, “The increase in food allergies, which is one of the most common causes of anaphylaxis, can be considered as the reason for the increase in anaphylaxis cases. Medications and bee stings are also significant factors. At this stage, it is crucial to stay calm and be knowledgeable about what to do when anaphylaxis occurs. Therefore, the anaphylaxis video prepared as part of the AYA project is very informative and important.”
Assoc. Dr. Zeynep Çelebi provided information about the impact of climate crisis on allergies, stating that environmental factors play a significant role in the development of allergic diseases, and allergic diseases are now being referred to as environmental diseases. Çelebi emphasized that with global warming, people are exposed to more hot air, which can cause cellular damage in the lower and upper respiratory tracts. It can lead to changes in mucus secretion and narrowing of the airways. This, in turn, can trigger exacerbations in asthma patients, increase coughing and phlegm production. Global warming prolongs the pollen season, and individuals with hay fever now experience symptoms throughout all four seasons, not just in spring. The skin is also affected, of course. In studies, it has been observed that atopic dermatitis and eczema flare up more easily and become more uncontrollable in individuals with these conditions.
About the Turkish National Allergy and Clinical Immunology Association (AİD):
The Turkish National Allergy and Clinical Immunology Association (AİD), the first association established in the field of allergy and immunology in Turkey, brings together adult and pediatric allergy and clinical immunology specialists under one roof. AİD aims to contribute to the development of allergy and clinical immunology science and services in Turkey, and create awareness in the society about allergic and immunological diseases. By organizing international congresses and scientific meetings, AİD ensures that specialty physicians and related healthcare personnel stay updated with the latest information. The association collaborates with international scientific institutions (AAAAI, EAACI, SIAF, WAO) and successfully organizes congresses and courses organized by these institutions in Turkey, making a significant contribution to the advancement of science while representing our country successfully. Furthermore, the association stands out with its mission to raise awareness and provides financial support for its members to attend scientific meetings. In addition to its members, it organizes various educational meetings in the form of courses and schools free of charge.