Anew study has found that asthma sufferers, who are frequently exposed to heavy traffic pollution or smoke from wood fire heaters, experience a significant worsening of symptoms. The University of Melbourne led study is the first of its kind to assess the impact of traffic pollution and wood smoke from heaters on middle-aged adults with asthma. The results revealed adults who suffer asthma and were exposed to heavy traffic pollution experienced an 80 per cent increase in symptoms and those exposed to wood smoke from wood fires experienced an 11 per cent increase in symptoms.

Asthma affects more than 300 million people worldwide and is one of the most chronic health conditions. Dr John Burgess of the School of Population Health at the University of Melbourne and a co-author on the study said “it is now recommended that adults who suffer asthma should not live on busy roads and that the use of old wood heaters should be upgraded to newer heaters, to ensure their health does not worsen.” Traffic exhaust is thought to exacerbate asthma through airway inflammation. Particles from heavy vehicles exhaust have been shown to enhance allergic inflammatory responses in sensitised people who suffer asthma.

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