You’re Far Less Likely to Suffer a Major Asthma Attack if Your Neighborhood Has Lots of These

You’re Far Less Likely to Suffer a Major Asthma Attack if Your Neighborhood Has Lots of These

It’s all about adding greenery that can catch and clean pollutants in the air.

Your asthma may be triggered by exercise. Or, it could be that sicknesses, allergies and all that pollen or dust flying around set things off. If you live in an urban neighborhood with lots of trees however, things could be different. You might be much less likely to suffer from a severe asthma attack, scientists have discovered.

A study done by researchers at the University of Exeter, England and published in the journal Environment International, looked at more than 650,000 serious asthma attacks over 15 years.

First we’ll start with the bad. Scientists found that sometimes increasing greenspace in the most polluted areas of a city can actually make things worse for those suffering from asthma.

How? When grass pollen combine with air pollutants, they can become more allergenic.

Related: Hormones Could Affect Asthma in Women, Study Shows

But with trees, it’s a different story. The more of them, the better. Trees are very effective at removing pollutants from the air.

It was found that in a typical urban area with high levels of background air pollution, an extra 300 trees for every 0.4 square miles, (1 square kilometer), resulted in 50 fewer people being admitted to hospital with a severe case of asthma for every 100,000 residents.

“We found that on balance, urban vegetation appears to do significantly more good than harm…Trees can effectively remove pollutants from the air, and this may explain why they appear to be most beneficial where concentrations are high,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Ian Alcock, a research fellow at the University of Exeter’s Medical School.

Researchers are hoping the study results will help improve urban planning. They can provide a greater push for planting certain species within cities, encouraging us all to grab a shovel and make a forest, like this man did in India.

Photo credit: OnlyZoia/Shutterstock

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