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Dr. Leibel and colleagues investigated what California’s wildfire’s meant in terms of health effects. He explains more by discussing

  • why we need to put more energy into preventative efforts,
  • what can be down about small particulate matter once it has entered the lungs, and 
  • additional allergy concerns such as theories on prevention.


Board-certified pediatric allergist and immunologist at Rady’s Children’s Hospital in San Diego and Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine, Dr. Sydney Leibel is an allergy and immunology specialist. His work brings his interest in pediatrics and immunology together. 

In this conversation, he recounts a group study on health effects and wildfires in southern California. Researchers gathered population-level information on hospital visits and combined it with the timing of the fires. In most cases with fire in a close area, no matter how small the fire, they noted an increase in hospital visits, particularly in patients 0 to 12 years old.

Dr. Leibel talks about the challenge of removing the small particulate matter from the lungs that comes from smoke. He notes that the best way to protect these kids is with prevention. This means keeping allergy suffers inside when conditions are bad, but also we need to do better work on mitigating effects of wildfires before they even start. 

He also describes different reasons for why allergies seem to be a larger issue today and offers theories for how to change this. He comments that we now have better asthma medicines available, but need to reach more patients: he and other allergy and immunology specialists are working to reach under-served populations.

To learn more and find links to his research, see his web page profile at Rady’s Children’s Hospital, San Diego: https://www.rchsd.org/doctors/sydney-leibel-md-mph/

Find him on twitter as well: @saleibel.

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