Magazine article USA TODAY

Infant Exposure Lowers Asthma Risk

Magazine article USA TODAY

Infant Exposure Lowers Asthma Risk

Article excerpt

Children exposed to high indoor levels of pet or pest allergens during infancy have a lower risk of developing asthma by seven years of age, indicates research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. This may provide clues for the design of strategies to prevent asthma from developing.

While previous studies have established that reducing allergen exposure in the home helps control established asthma, these findings suggest that exposure to certain allergens early in life, before asthma develops, may have a preventive effect.

The observations come from the ongoing Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma study, which is funded by the Inner-City Asthma Consortium.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga., more than eight percent of children in the U.S. have asthma, a chronic disease that intermittently inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma can result in missed time from school and work and is a major cause of Emergency Department visits and hospitalizations.

The URECA study investigates risk factors for asthma among children living in urban areas, where the disease is more prevalent and severe. Since 2005, URECA has enrolled 560 newborns from New York; Baltimore, Md.; Boston, Mass.; and St. Louis, Mo., at high risk for developing asthma because at least one parent has asthma or allergies. Study investigators have been following the children since birth. …

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