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How the October 2007 San Diego fires affected asthmatics

  • Author(s): Vora, Chirag Harshad
  • et al.
Abstract

This study investigates how the October, 2007 wildfires in San Diego produced poor air quality. It then investigates how this poor air quality affects the respiratory health of eight asthmatic subjects in real time. It was found that the wildfires caused a statistical significant increase in both morning and evening Particulate Matter (PM2.5) values (p<0.0001). It was then found that during the wildfires, two of two subjects showed increases in eosinophil counts in the lower airways, indicating increased inflammation during the wildfires compared to before the wildfires. It should be noted that this was the first study to monitor eosinophil counts during a wildfire. For the eight subjects, it was found that morning and night Peak Flow (PEFR or PEF) values and morning and night Forced Expiratory Volume in One Second (FEV1) values showed no drastic decreases during the wildfires compared to before and after the wildfires. Finally, it was found that there was a significant increase in rescue medication usage during the wildfires compared to before (p = 0.04). This paper suggests that the wildfires produced poor air quality that resulted in an increase in inflammation in the asthmatic subjects. Yet, the Pulmonary Function Tests (Peak Flow and FEV1) indicated no significant differences as the effects caused by the inflammation were masked by increased rescue medication usage

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