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Air Pollution May Contribute to Eczema Outbreaks

April 6, 2023

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It’s estimated about 31 million Americans have eczema. Characterized by inflamed, scaly, itchy skin, it is most prevalent in children. But nearly half grow out of it.

For Carl Braun it came back later in life.

“When I got in my 50s it came back with a vengeance,” says Braun. “Didn’t have the treatment we do today. I actually got staph infections. Because it came back with a vengeance all over my body.”

Patients with eczema usually know what triggers outbreaks.

It could be fragrances in products. It could be metals, stress, or fabrics. The skin is already compromised. And researchers say air pollution could cause outbreaks in the eczema patients as well.

Specifically, isocyanates found in building materials, may have an impact on a patient’s skin.

“Isocyanates might be infiltrating the skin creating the inflammation,” says Dr. Cindy Lamerson with Nevada Center for Dermatology. “But also altering the bacteria that promotes healthy skin.”

Pollution from cars and manufacturing may be a contributor. But so can smoke from wildfires which have become so prevalent in our area.

“Polyurethane in woods…in furniture and that type of thing,” says Dr. Lamerson. “So, if those are burned certainly you are going to get more in the air.”

While there’s been an increase is eczema over the last ten years perhaps caused by air pollution, there’s also been an increase in effective medication recently. Many of them are blocking the proteins which cause inflammation.

By Terri Russell

View the article on KOLO News 8

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