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The Connection Between Allergies and Asthma
- Absorption through the skin (eg, poison ivy)
- Inhalation through the mouth or nose (eg, pollen, dust mites)
- Ingestion (eg, foods, medicines)
- Injection (eg, insect sting)
The Allergy-Asthma Connection
Putting Knowledge Into Action
- Control exposure to smoke—Do not smoke at all. But, if you must smoke, do so outside. Never smoke in a car that children ride in, even if your child is not in the car at the time. Wood smoke may also be an asthma risk; avoid wood heating. It may also be wise to assure that gas heaters and stoves are vented to the outside. These appliances produce combustion products that can irritate the lungs.
- Control exposure to pets—This is often debated as the evidence is inconsistent. In some studies, exposure to pets at a young age was associated with less risk of allergies.
- Control exposure to dust mites—Dust mites are microscopic creatures that are found in large quantities in your home. They tend to live in bedding, but are far too small to be seen. Strategies to reduce exposure to mites include:
- Wash all linens in hot water every seven days.
- Place zippered, plastic covers on pillows and mattresses. Although this often recommended, there is little evidence that this actually helps.
- Vacuum carpeting and upholstered furniture frequently using a vacuum cleaner with a “HEPA” filter.
- Keep indoor relative humidity below 50%.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology http://www.aaaai.org/
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America http://www.aafa.org/
Allergy Asthma Information Association http://aaia.ca/
Calgary Allergy Network http://www.calgaryallergy.ca/
Air filters. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America website. Available at: http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=8&sub=16&cont=37. Accessed September 6, 2012.
Brooks SM, Hammad Y, Richards I, Giovinco-Barbas J, Jenkins K. The spectrum of irritant-induced asthma: sudden and not-so-sudden onset and the role of allergy. Chest . 1998;113(1):42-9.
Chan-Yeung M, Ferguson A, Watson W, Dimich-Ward H, Rousseau R, Lilley M, et al. The Canadian Childhood Asthma Primary Prevention Study: outcomes at 7 years of age. J Allergy Clin Immunol . 2005 Jul;116(1):49-55.
Asthma in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 28, 2012. Accessed September 6, 2012.
Holt PG, Macaubas C, Stumbles PA, Sly PD. The role of allergy in the development of asthma. Nature . 1999; 25:402(6760 Suppl):B12-7.
Tips to remember: prevention of allergies and asthma in children. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology website. Available at: http://www.aaaai.org/patients/publicedmat/tips/preventioninchildren.stm . Accessed September 6, 2012.
Tips for spring and summer sniffles. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America website. Available at: http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=7&sub=92&cont=825. Accessed September 6, 2012.
Zeretzke, K. Allergies and the breastfeeding family. New Beginnings. 1998;14(4):100. Available at: http://www.lalecheleague.org/nb/nbjulaug98p100.html. Accessed September 6, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012
- Update Date: 09/06/2012