3 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Asthma in Early Childhood

Pharmacists can help inform their patients with young children about a few ways to reduce their kids' risk of developing asthma.

Pharmacists can help inform their patients with young children about a few ways to reduce their kids’ risk of developing asthma.

Asthma, if not controlled properly, can lead children to miss school, and parents may be forced to take off work to care for their children.

There were approximately 13.8 million missed days of school due to asthma in 2013, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here are some tips to lessen the chances that a child develops the disease.

1. Animal fur exposure may help.

Sleeping on animal fur in infancy may reduce the risk of asthma later in childhood, according to recent research.

A study evaluated the effects of sleeping on animal fur in the first 3 months of life compared with children who were not exposed to animal skin.

The researchers found that children who slept on fur had a 79% lower chance of having asthma by the time they were age 6. By the time the children were aged 10, the risk decreased to 41%.

2. Farm dust may protect against asthma risk.

Researchers have determined that farm dust can make the mucus membrane in the respiratory tracts react less severely to allergens like house dust mites, thereby making an individual less susceptible to allergies and asthma.

Patients with allergies and asthma have a deficiency in a protective protein called A20, which causes them to suffer more from allergens.

The researchers tested their farm theory with a group of 2000 children who grew up on farms. They found that most of them were protected, but those who were not had a malfunctioning A20 gene.

3. Dirt and dander have their benefits.

Rodent dander, pet dander, roach allergens, and household bacteria exposure may reduce asthma risk, wheezing, and allergy risk when infants are exposed to them, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine determined.

The effect seemed to be greatest for the infants when exposure came before their first birthdays.

“What this tells us is that not only are many of our immune responses shaped in the first year of life, but also that certain bacteria and allergens play an important role in stimulating and training the immune system to behave a certain way,” study author Robert Wood, MD, said in a press release.