Tag Archives: Asthma UK

Regular Use of Indoor Swimming Pools May Cause Asthma to Children

Children who regularly use indoor swimming pools may be more likely to develop asthma, scientists have warned.

They say the chlorine used in the pools can increase a youngster’s risk of asthma up to six-fold, while rates of hay fever and other types of allergic sniffles are also higher.

This is because the by-products of chlorination contaminate the air of indoor pools, irritating the airways and lungs and making them more vulnerable to allergens.

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Researchers from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium say the effect of chlorine on the respiratory systems of young people was up to five times more than the effect of secondhand smoke.

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Wheezy: More than 5million people are thought to be suffering from asthma in the UK.

But  asthma charities said the research was not conclusive enough to make them advise parents against indoor pools.

They said chlorine, added to kill germs, has saved hundreds of lives.

More than five million people are estimated to suffer from asthma in the UK.

The Belgian study, reported in the journal Pediatrics, compared the health of 733 teenagers between 13 and 18 who swam regularly in chlorinated pools with that of 114 who swam mostly in pools sanitised with a mix of copper and silver.
They found the highest proportion of asthma among the children who used the pools the most.

Toxicology professor Alfred Bernard, who led the research, said: ‘There is little doubt that pool chlorine is an important factor implicated in the epidemic of allergic diseases affecting the westernised world.

‘It is probably not by chance that countries with the highest prevalence of asthma and respiratory allergies are also those where swimming pools are the most popular.’

But Dr Elaine Vickers, of Asthma UK, said: ‘Asthma develops as a result of a complex mix of genetic and environmental factors, so more research is needed before we can make a conclusive link with the use of chemicals in swimming pools.

‘Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for children with asthma as it can help improve lung capacity and the warm, humid air of indoor pools is less likely to trigger asthma symptoms.

‘We would advise parents of children with asthma not to worry about letting their child go swimming, unless they develop asthma symptoms in the pool environment.’

Source: mail Online ; 16 Sept.’09

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Myths About Asthma

For any type of asthma patient,  country living can be as bad for sufferers as the city.But the belief that they are cure-alls is just one of the myths surrounding the condition, which affects 5.4million people in the UK……..click & see
According to Joy Smith of Asthma UK, expensive measures may not be effective if you have not discovered exactly what has triggered the asthma. And this can be easily established by a simple skin prick test from your GP…………

Country air: But for some asthma sufferers it may be as bad as the city

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If plant pollen is the culprit rather than house-dust mites, for example, it would be better simply to close windows to keep out the pollen.
But if mites are the cause, the widely advertised, expensive measures may be useless anyway, according to the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, which reviewed 54 studies involving more than 3,000 asthma patients.
It concluded that none of the interventions believed to eradicate dust mites was effective, including the use of specialist cleaning products or washing bedding at temperatures higher than 60C.
A University of Michigan study found that only half of the 1,788 asthma-proofing steps taken by parents of 896 asthmatic children were likely to work.
The others were unproven, unlikely to help or even potentially harmful in a few cases, such as the use of a humidifier. Mites thrive in humid conditions.
Many asthmatics living in cities think their symptoms would be alleviated if they moved to green and traffic-free countryside. But Joy Smith says: ‘There is no best place to live for anyone with asthma, as it depends what your triggers are. There are studies comparing the Scottish Highlands to the city and finding the incidence of asthma the same.’
Asthma myths abound: there’s the belief that steroid treatments stunt growth in children (Asthma UK says that normal doses are fine and while strong doses can delay growth, patients catch up); and that asthmatics cannot exercise or play sports.
Yet exertion is fine as long as the asthma is well managed and a reliever inhaler always at hand. Olympians Lord Coe, Paula Radcliffe and Rebecca Adlington have asthma.
Nor is asthma contagious. ‘Asthma cannot be passed on from one person to another,’ says specialist Vikki Knowles from Asthma UK.
‘It is a condition that develops as a result of complex genetic and environmental factors, although as yet the exact causes remain unknown.’
She also debunks the myth that you can grow out of asthma.
‘A child diagnosed with asthma may no longer experience symptoms when they reach adulthood but the underlying tendency still remains and so symptoms can return in later life,’ she says.
Another widely held belief is that only children get asthma. Says Joy Smith: ‘Asthma can occur at any age – so you could get it for the first time in your 70s. It is often overlooked then.
‘Many people are under the impression that asthma is not a serious condition.
‘And while many people are fortunate enough not to experience severe symptoms, more than half-a-million people in the UK have difficulty controlling it, meaning some cannot do even simple things like running for a bus or dressing themselves.
‘The condition is responsible for 1,200 deaths a year in Great Britain.’

Source: Mail Online.29th.Aug.2009

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Lungs ‘Boosted by Breastfeeding’

Breastfeeding an infant

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A new study by UK and US scientists has revealed that the sheer physical effort involved in breastfeeding may leave babies with stronger lungs well into childhood.

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Previous studies have established that breastfeeding protects babies from respiratory problems early in life, but the relationship with lungpower later in childhood is less clear-cut.

For the study, the researchers followed a total of 1,456 babies from the Isle of Wight all the way through to there 10th year to test this.

A third of them had been breastfed for at least four months, and on average, these children could blow out more air after taking a deep breath, and could blow it out faster.

This happened regardless of whether their mother was asthmatic or suffered from allergies.

Other studies have suggested that immune chemicals in breast-milk may have a protective effect against asthma.

However, the scientists from Southampton University and the College of Veterinary Medicine in Michigan State University, said that the changes in lung volume they found were not completely characteristic of an asthmatic response, suggesting that other factors might be at work.

Dr Syed Arshad, from Southampton and the David Hide Asthma and Allergy Research Centre on the Isle of Wight, said that the physical effort needed to extract milk from the breast might be involved.

On average, babies needed to generate three times the sucking power compared to bottle-feeding, and feeding sessions tended to last much longer.

“What they are doing is very similar to the kind of exercises we suggest for pulmonary rehabilitation in older patients. I’m not aware of anyone suggesting that this might be the reason before,” BBC quoted Arshad, as
saying.

These researchers have now approached a bottle manufacturer with proposals to create a bottle, which mimics the effort needed to breastfeed.

He said that it was now feasible to conduct lung function tests on infants, which meant that a trial to see if it made a difference could be concluded within a year.

Dr Elaine Vickers, from Asthma UK, said that the study added to the evidence that breastfeeding has “long-lasting benefits” for children.

“While the results of the study don’t focus specifically on asthma, the researchers were able to demonstrate that children breast-fed for four months or longer had better lung function than those who weren’t breast-fed at all, or who were breast-fed for less than four months,” she added.

Sources:From The study is published in the journal Thorax.

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Farm Pregnancy ‘Cuts Asthma Risk’

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Living on a farm during pregnancy may help reduce the chance of the child developing asthma, eczema and even hayfever, say scientists.

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Living on a farm while pregnant may benefit the baby

The New Zealand researchers suggest that exposure to animals and the bacteria they carry may affect the foetus’s immune system.

Writing in the European Respiratory Journal, they said exposure before and after birth halved the risk.

But experts warn some animals carry infections which may harm the baby.

The research, carried out at Massey University, adds to other studies which have suggested that living on a farm, with regular contact with animals, during the early years of life, could cut the risk of asthma and other allergic diseases.

But the study of more than 1,300 farmers’ children goes further, suggesting that this protection could start building even before birth.

It found that the greatest apparent protection – a 50% reduction in asthma, and an even greater reduction in eczema and hay fever – was gained by children whose mothers had been exposed to farm life during pregnancy, and who currently lived on a farm.

The reasons why this might happen are unclear, although they are likely to be related to the way that the child begins to develop its immune system.

Milk bacteria

Living on a farm means frequent contact with animal bacteria, perhaps through the consumption of unpasteurised milk, or contact with the animals directly.

The researchers suggested that this might suppress the production of particular immune cells linked to the development of asthma.

However, they suggested that while exposure during pregnancy might be useful, it might only persist if the child was exposed after its birth as well.

The findings are unlikely to lead to any change in current advice to pregnant women, which urges caution about contact with certain farm animals.

In particular, an infection which can cause miscarriage in pregnant ewes can lead to the same result in humans.

The faeces of other animals can also carry infections which can affect a pregnancy.

Dr Elaine Vickers, research manager at Asthma UK, said: “This study adds to existing evidence supporting the hygiene hypothesis, which states that early exposure to potential allergens results in a reduced risk of asthma development.

“However, the causes of asthma are still largely unknown and the processes involved in asthma development are incredibly complicated, including family history, environment and lifestyle.”

Sources: BBC NEWS:30Th. Aug.’08

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