The need for clean air: The way air pollution and climate change affect allergic rhinitis and asthma

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Air pollution and climate change have a significant impact on human health and well-being and contribute to the onset and aggravation of allergic rhinitis and asthma among other chronic respiratory diseases. In Westernized countries, households have experienced a process of increasing insulation and individuals tend to spend most of their time indoors. These sequelae implicate a high exposure to indoor allergens (house dust mites, pets, molds, etc), tobacco smoke, and other pollutants, which have an impact on respiratory health. Outdoor air pollution derived from traffic and other human activities not only has a direct negative effect on human health but also enhances the allergenicity of some plants and contributes to global warming. Climate change modifies the availability and distribution of plant- and fungal-derived allergens and increases the frequency of extreme climate events. This review summarizes the effects of indoor air pollution, outdoor air pollution, and subsequent climate change on asthma and allergic rhinitis in children and adults and addresses the policy adjustments and lifestyle changes required to mitigate their deleterious effects.


  • Ibon Eguiluz-Gracia
  • Alexander G. Mathioudakis
  • Sabine Bartel
  • Susanne J.H. Vijverberg
  • Elaine Fuertes
  • Pasquale Comberiati
  • Yutong Samuel Cai
  • Peter Valentin Tomazic
  • Zuzana Diamant
  • Jørgen Vestbo
  • Carmen Galan
  • Barbara Hoffmann
External organisations
  • Hospital Regional de Málaga
  • University of Manchester
  • Wythenshawe Hospital
  • Airway Research Center North
  • University Medical Center Groningen
  • Academic Medical Center of University of Amsterdam (AMC)
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Pisa
  • I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University
  • University of Oxford
  • Medical University of Graz
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Charles University in Prague
  • University of Córdoba, Spain
  • Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health
  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy


  • allergic rhinitis, asthma, climate change, environment, pollution
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2170-2184
Number of pages15
JournalAllergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number9
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sep
Publication categoryResearch