Sun, Apr 30, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Risk of dermatitis increases with PM2.5 level: study

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A study has suggested that increased concentrations of PM2.5 — fine particulate matter measuring 2.5 micrometers or smaller — is associated with increased risk of adult atopic dermatitis.

A medical team from Taichung Veterans General Hospital’s Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology said it discovered that when PM2.5 concentration levels increase by 10 micrograms per cubic meter (mg/m3), the risk of adult atopic dermatitis increases by 60 percent.

Researchers analyzed statistics from the National Health Insurance (NHI) Research Database and the Taiwan Air Quality Monitoring Network for the study.

Attending physician Tang Kuo-tung (譚國棟) said they randomly sampled 1,023 people older than 20 years from the NHI database for every 1 million people in the population and linked it with air pollutant data collected in the same year from monitoring stations to identify the air quality to which they were exposed.

When the PM2.5 levels reached the Environmental Protection Administration’s “purple” level — more than 71mg/m3 — the risk of adult atopic dermatitis increased by three times, he said.

Previous epidemiology surveys have suggested that atopic dermatitis affects up to 20 percent of children, but about two-thirds of them would see the symptoms gradually diminish as they grow up, Tang said.

However, the medical team observed that more adults have been seeking treatment for atopic dermatitis, he added.

Atopic dermatitis is characterized by rashes that can be severe and persistent, and scaling or lichenification from scratching could also affect a person’s social life, he said.

The division said it has been tracking nearly 50 adults with the condition to understand how treatment has improved their quality of life.

Many of the people have shown significant improvement in quality of life after getting treatment, it said, so adults who have chronic itchy rashes should seek medical attention to relieve the symptoms.

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