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According to the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, 44,000 people have an asthma attack every day in the U.S. For African Americans, we are three times more likely to be hospitalized for and well as die from asthma attacks. While environmental triggers like smoke and pollen are common culprits, during the winter months there’s a potentially life-threatening trigger that’s almost unavoidable: the common cold.  The World Health Organization (WHO) cites that 80-90% of attacks are caused by rhinoviruses, the same infections of the airways that are the main cause of colds.

Until now, it’s been unclear how a simple cold could trigger severe asthma attacks, but scientists in the UK may have found the answer: the IL-25 molecule.

“Our research has shown for the first time that the cells that line the airways of asthmatics are more prone to producing a small molecule called IL-25, which then appears to trigger a chain of events that causes attacks,” said Dr. Nathan Bartlett,  joint lead author of the study and honorary lecturer at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, according to a report from Medical News Today .

He added, “By targeting this molecule at the top of the cascade, we could potentially discover a much-needed new treatment to control this potentially life-threatening reaction in asthma sufferers.”

Winter Advisory: Why Common Cold May Trigger Asthma Attacks  was originally published on blackdoctor.org

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