From: Robina Suwol
Date: 22 Sep 2004
Remote Name: 126.96.36.199
Home Environment Changes May Relieve Asthma
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USA: September 10, 2004
NEW YORK - Inner-city families can help relieve children's asthma symptoms by making simple changes in their homes. Such steps include using pillow covers that are impermeable to dust mites, and air purifiers to get rid of tobacco smoke, mold and cat or dog allergens, according to new study findings. ... Previous studies of environmental interventions for asthma have focused on reducing the affected individuals' exposure to a single allergen, or asthma trigger, rather than reducing exposure to multiple asthma triggers.
In the current study, Morgan and his colleagues used a multifaceted approach for 937 children, aged 5 to 11 years, with atopic or allergic asthma. The children were from inner-city areas in seven major cities across the US and were randomly assigned to an intervention group or a control group for comparison purposes. The children in the study group received up to seven home visits during the 12-month intervention period, during which their caretakers were taught how to create "an environmentally safe sleeping zone," by using mattress, pillow and box spring covers that were impermeable to allergens.
The intervention was also tailored to each child, as some caretakers were given specially equipped vacuum cleaners and air purifiers while others were given professional pest control to eliminate cockroach allergen. Children in the comparison group received four home visits during which their home environment was surveyed and dust allergens were collected. At each follow-up, children in the intervention group reported experiencing asthma symptoms on fewer days during a two-week period than did those in the comparison group.
And, the report indicates, this greater reduction in asthma symptoms persisted for 12 months after the intervention period, for a total of two years. Overall, children in the intervention group experienced about 34 fewer days with wheeze during a two-year period than did their peers in the comparison group, Morgan and his team report this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Altogether, the indoor environmental changes resulted in nearly 14 percent fewer unscheduled visits to the emergency department or clinic, 20 percent fewer days with symptoms, and 21 percent fewer missed school days per year for children in the intervention group. SOURCE: New England Journal of Medicine, September 9, 2004. Story by Charnicia E. Huggins