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Allergic Rhinitis As A Result of Environmental Change in UAE

Dr. Shirina Alsowaidi, Assistant Professor of Allergy and Immunology in Internal at University, conducted a study in which he found that allergic rhinitis affects 36 percent of people in Al Ain, making the pollen-linked disease far more common than was previously predicted.

This relatively high prevalence of allergic rhinitis is thought to be the result of drastic changes to the UAE’s traditional environment in the past 10 years, with the introduction of green landscaping that has resulted in a greater number of date palm trees, public gardens, and grass-covered areas in the country’s major cities and towns.

“Such massive environmental changes, though appreciable, may have had a huge adverse impact on the prevalence of allergic diseases, especially allergic rhinitis, with the introduction of thousands of new plants and trees that were never seen in the UAE until a decade ago,” said Dr. Alsowaidi.

“This study was carried out in Al Ain but the findings can be used as an indicator of the overall prevalence of allergic rhinitis across the UAE. Due to the pollution that exists in and Abu Dhabi there could be even more people suffering from allergic rhinitis symptoms in those cities, because the dust acts as an irritant,” Dr. Alsowaidi added.

Preliminary findings of the survey of up to 1,500 UAE residents are expected in May, according to lead researcher, Dr. Bassam Mahboub, Associate Professor of the medical faculty at the University.

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