Istanbul, one of the biggest cities in the world, is home to more than 15 million people. There is always traffic in the streets and people mostly use plastic and ready to go packages. Unhealthy living and frequent traffic jams might be affecting the children of the city as it has been discovered that one in every five children in Istanbul has asthma.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), professor Emin Özkaya of Bezmialem University said the number of asthma patients doubled in the last 15 years and it has become an epidemic.
"It is not all about genetics," Professor Özkaya said. "Asthma is directly related to the use of detergents, plastics, antibiotics, fast urbanization, air pollution and many other factors," he added.
The prevalence of asthma in children was at 9.8 percent in Istanbul in 2000 but it increased to 22 percent in 2015. A similar trend has also been observed in capital Ankara, Turkey's second biggest city, as well as other major cities like İzmir, Mersin and Van. However, asthma in children is not the same as in adults. According to professor Özkaya, up to 80 percent of children suffering from asthma overcome the problem by their adolescence. Özkaya suggests that a vaccine can be the first step to protect children from asthma.