Allergens and Viruses Act Together to Worsen Asthma

Published Online: Wednesday, May 1, 2002

Common allergens (eg, dust mites and pet dander) and viruses may act together to exacerbate asthma, researchers reported in the British Journal of Medicine. In their study, a significantly higher proportion of adults hospitalized for acute asthma were sensitized and exposed to common allergens than were patients with stable asthma or controls (66% vs 37% and 15%). Patients with acute asthma were also more likely to have a viral infection, compared with the other two groups (26% vs 18% and 9%). The risk for an acute exacerbation increased twofold among patients with allergen sensitization/exposure and jumped to more than eightfold among patients with both allergen sensitization/exposure and viral infection.

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