Allergens and Viruses Act Together to Worsen Asthma

MAY 01, 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.