Is climate change a factor in Costa Rica’s rising childhood asthma cases?

Asthma is on the rise again among Costa Rican children, and pediatric pulmonologist Manuel Soto says the increasing effects of climate change on the country’s weather is playing an increasing role.

“Before, our respiratory illnesses had three peaks: the beginning of school [in February], the start of the rainy season [usually in April], and October and November, when the rains are heaviest,” Soto said this week in a statement. He added that the increasing number of “brusque changes in the weather have resulted in an increase in cases during any time of year.”

According to the specialist, the effects of climate change appear to favor the prevalence of allergens during the dry season and increased rain and humidity during the rainy season, driving a spike in asthma cases that could affect today’s children later in life.

This year’s National Medical Conference will further explore the issue as well as other climate-change related topics such as climate change and its effects on severe diarrhea or neurological disease.

During the 1990s, Costa Rica had a higher rate of six- and seven-year-old with asthma than any country in the world: a whopping one of every three children in that age group had asthma.