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HealthcareInterviewHow Is Climate Change Impacting Your Health and Skin

Did you know climate change has a direct impact on allergies? “Many studies have found that increases in temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide can cause more pollen production and that the worsening of pollen seasons in some locations is possible,” explains Dr. Liia Ramachandra. This means allergy season is constantly expanding.

An exposure to excess allergens can also cause allergic inflammation in the body resulting in more conditions and allergies that a person did not experience before such as shellfish allergy, gluten allergy etc.

To learn more, we conducted an interview with Dr. Liia Ramachandra.

1. What is the relationship between climate change and allergies?

* Climate Change/Temperature increase and skin cancer rate:

A 2 °C (3.6°F) increase in ambient temperature is estimated to increase skin cancer incidence 11% globally by 2050 (Van Der Leun and de Gruijl, 2002). Heat also has an indirect effect on skin cancer incidence by altering human behavior.

* Climate Change and skin conditions.

A variety of skin diseases appear to be worsened by climate change. This includes inflammatory disorders such as eczema (atopic dermatitis) and pemphigus, an autoimmune blistering disorder. We also know that emotional stress causes conditions such as eczema, vitiligo and psoriasis to flare. This would be expected in communities that have been affected by natural disasters.

* Climate change and infectious disease that can affect the skin:

 Warmer weather and presumably elevated pollen levels, causes an increased number of patients with eczema flares. Infectious diseases that affect the skin are also on the rise because of global warming. Specifically, an increase in Lyme disease is thought to be related to warmer environments that are more favorable to tick survival, as well as a greater availability of hosts like deer and mice.

Increased temperature and humidity also result in more cases of hand, foot and mouth disease from enteroviruses. Valley fever (coccidioidomycosis) is a fungal infection contracted via inhalation that can cause disfiguring skin lesions and sometimes death if the fungus spreads throughout the body. Historically, Coccidioides species were regularly found in the southwestern United States, but there are now reported cases in southeast Washington, which has been attributed to climate change.

* Climate change and skin conditions in children are on the rise

Children are uniquely vulnerable to changes in the environment, specifically to extreme changes such as heat waves and air pollution that are worsened by climate change. Since their bodies and metabolism are still developing, children are unable to regulate their temperature well. Compared to adults, children are exposed to more pollutants in air, food and water.  Specifically, children may suffer from impaired lung development, increased asthma symptoms, worsening allergies and skin conditions (such as eczema) and malnourishment as a result of climate change.

* Climate change, mental health and impact on our skin

These articles cover the range of known findings. One area is that climate extremes don’t have physical impact but psychological and mental health impact with significant stress. This stress can lead to health issues including skin problems.

* For the non-believers who say that the world is not becoming warmer (but colder)

Yes, some places in the world are very hot, some are coming under water (recent incidents in Germany), some are becoming colder. All of this is a result of climate change.

Colder climates can be tough on your skin. Cold temperatures often mean low humidity, which dries out skin. Bitterly cold winds can also strip moisture from exposed skin. Throughout the winter months, many people find their skin to be rough, red, tightened, cracked or peeling because of dryness. Some skin conditions, such as eczema, can flare up during dry weather.

In warmer climates, increased heat and humidity can cause your skin to sweat, leaving you more prone to breakouts, especially if your skin is oily. The heat can also lead to other skin problems. Among them is heat rash, which happens when sweat ducts get closed off, trapping the moisture under the skin and leading to a rash made up of blisters or bumps. The condition is common in infants, but it can also affect adults who are exposed to hot, humid climates.

2. What happens to the body when exposed to excess allergens?

When a harmless substance such as dust, mold, or pollen is encountered by a person who is allergic to that substance, the immune system may overreact by producing antibodies that attack” the allergen. They can cause wheezing, itching, runny nose, watery or itchy eyes, and other symptoms. Your body basically starts attacking the allergens thinking they are the infiltrators and inflammatory response is formed.

3. What is an anti-inflammatory diet?

Inflammation helps the body fight illness and can protect it from harm. In most cases, it is a necessary part of the healing process.

However, some people have a medical condition in which the immune system does not work as it should. This malfunction can lead to persistent or recurrent low level inflammation.

Chronic inflammation occurs with various diseases, such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma. There is evidence that dietary choices may help manage the symptoms.

An anti-inflammatory diet favors fruits and vegetables, foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, lean protein, healthful fats, and spices. It discourages or limits the consumption of processed foods, red meats, and alcohol.

The anti-inflammatory diet is not a specific regimen but rather a style of eating. The Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet are examples of anti-inflammatory diets.

4. How can such a diet combat allergies?

A diet that focuses on foods that are anti-inflammatory is useful in alleviating the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Histamine, produced during an allergic reaction, causes the symptoms of allergies by stimulating the inflammatory response of the immune system. Some of the healthy foods include:

Below are ten anti-inflammatory foods that pack a punch in the fight against seasonal allergies. Nourish yourself with these powerful and delicious foods, and enjoy better health this season and all year round.

Wild Salmon

Packed with healthy omega-3s, known for their anti-inflammatory properties, salmon will help attack excess inflammation while providing a healthy dose of the good fats your body needs.

Dark Chocolate

Good news for chocoholics! A study at Louisiana State University found that gut microbes in our stomach ferment chocolate into heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory compounds that shut down genes linked to insulin resistance and inflammation. You’re welcome.

Ginger

Working a daily total of two tablespoons of fresh ginger into your meals can help to significantly reduce inflammation. It provides other important health benefits and is a spicy addition to your meals!

Broccoli

Broccoli is basically the poster vegetable for healthy eating. For an anti-inflammatory diet, it’s invaluable. It’s an antioxidant powerhouse loaded with key vitamins, flavonoids, and carotenoids that work to lower oxidative stress in the body, help fight chronic inflammation, and reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Celery

Celery is loaded with antioxidants that have the ability to cure free-radical damage that contributes to inflammation and increases your risk of diseases such as heart disease and cancer. It also makes for an effective home remedy against inflammatory conditions such as liver and kidney infections, joint pain, irritable bowel syndrome, skin disorders, and urinary tract infections.

Blueberries

Blueberries are full of flavor and impressive health benefits. They’re rich in antioxidants and contain anthocyanins that actually turn off inflammatory and immune genes. They can also fight aging, help combat cancer, and aid in weight loss. Not too shabby.

Walnuts

These nuts are a solid source of a plant-based, anti-inflammatory omega-3 known as ALA. They provide protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals like potassium and magnesium. Their unsaturated fatty acids and phytosterols may lower both your bad LDL cholesterol levels and your risk for heart disease. Add walnuts to green leafy salads drizzled with olive oil for a satisfying anti-inflammatory meal, or grab a handful for an on-the-go snack.

Bone Broth

You might think bone broth is just another dietary fad, but it has earned its place in your kitchen. The stock is loaded with anti-inflammatory amino acids as well as gelatin. You benefit from their abilities to rebuild your gut lining and promote inflammation-fighting gut microbes.

Pineapple

Sweet and full of flavor, pineapple might be considered the candy of the fruit world. It contains an enzyme called bromelain that serves as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It’s beneficial in reducing asthmatic symptoms, helps to relieve post-exercise inflammation and is even being considered as a possible effective cancer-fighting agent.

Bok Choy

Last on this list, but one of the top anti-inflammatory foods you’ll find, is bok choy! Also known as Chinese cabbage, it’s an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It is nourished with omega-3s and vitamin K, both of which help lower unwanted inflammation. It has a sweet, mild flavor that makes it a great addition to most dishes. It just might become your next go-to ingredient!

They soothe and calm your body and combat the inflammatory response in the body!

5. How can skin-care reduce internal inflammation?

Skincare can not reduce internal inflammation but it can combat the inflammation that you see on your skin as a result of internal inflammation. Some of the anti-inflammatory ingredients to look out for are:

Licorice Extract, Green Tea, Turmeric, Centella Asiatica, Colloidal Oatmeal, Chamomile, Resveratrol, CBD OIl/Hemp seed, Aloe Vera and Neem Oil.

6. What skin-care products best combat allergies?

Important to use skincare free of fragrances, and 14 known allergens (per FDA – The 14 allergens are: celery, cereals containing gluten (such as barley and oats), crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters), eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs (such as mussels and oysters), mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites)

7. Are there any resources you recommend that help in reducing the effects of climate change on people’s bodies?

Focus on your mental health, take time for yourself, meditate, exercise and leave a happy lifestyle. When your mental health is in check, usually the body is calm and the inflammation can be reduced.

With the temperature rising, and the sun being stronger, make sure to use sunscreen and cover yourself from too much sun exposure.

If you live in a place that is actually becoming colder (also an effect of climate change), then moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!!

Make sure to truly nourish your mind, body (with the right diet and lifestyle) and a good allergen-free skincare and cosmetics!

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Digital Health Buzz!

Digital Health Buzz!

Digital Health Buzz! aims to be the destination of choice when it comes to what’s happening in the digital health world. We are not about news and views, but informative articles and thoughts to apply in your business.

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