Clinical and immunological effects of a forest trip in children with asthma and atopic dermatitis.
AbstractAsthma and atopic dermatitis are common allergic diseases, and their prevalence has increased in urban children. Recently, it is becoming understood that forest environment has favorable health effects in patients with chronic diseases. To investigate favorable clinical and immunologic effects of forest, we examined changes in clinical symptoms, indirect airway inflammatory marker, and serum chemokines before and after a short-term forest trip. The forest trips were performed with 21 children with asthma and 27 children with atopic dermatitis. All participating children were living in air polluted urban inner-city. We measured spirometry and fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) in children with asthma and measured scoring atopic dermatitis (SCORAD) index and Thymus and Activation-Regulated Chemokine (TARC)/CCL17 and Macrophage-Derived Chemokine (MDC)/CCL22 levels in children with atopic dermatitis before and after the forest trip. Indoor air pollutants such as indoor mold, particulate matter 10 (PM10) and total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) of each child's home and the accommodations within forest were measured. A significant increase in forced vital capacity (FVC) and a significant decrease in FeNO were observed after the forest trip in children with asthma. SCORAD indices and MDC/CCL22 levels were significantly decreased after the forest trip in children with atopic dermatitis. Airborne mold and PM10 levels in indoor were significantly lower in the forest accommodations than those of children's homes; however, TVOC levels were not different between the two measured sites. Short-term exposure to forest environment may have clinical and immunological effects in children with allergic diseases who were living in the urban community.
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