Childhood Asthma: New Study Brings New Hope

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Asthma is one of the most common chronic conditions in children, but a new study shows there may be some new hope when it comes to treatment. Sonia Budhecha, M.D., a pediatric pulmonologist with Renown Health, joins Channel 4 KRNV (NBC) and Channel 11 KRXI (FOX) for Best Medicine Wednesday to share the latest findings and explain what it could mean for your kids.

A recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics found that reducing a child’s exposure to indoor allergens and pollutants such as dust mites, household chemicals and second-hand smoke can be as effective as medications when it comes to controlling asthma. We sat down with Sonia Budhecha, M.D., a pediatric pulmonologist, to learn more.

What do these latest findings mean?

A lot of this ties to the fact that people with asthma are often allergic to dust mites, mold and pet dander. Additionally, household chemicals such as air fresheners and cleaning agents as well as second-hand smoke from smokers or even stoves and appliances can be an irritant for people with asthma.

This really is good news for people of all ages, because it means you have more control and can help keep your asthma in check by watching for these allergens and pollutants in your everyday life.

What can people do to help reduce these allergen and irritants in their home?

It probably won’t be fun, but cleaning is a huge part of reducing these allergens. Allergens are sticky by nature and can cling to walls, carpets, furniture, clothing and even stay suspended in the air. Washing your bedding routinely — at least once a week — in hot water and even using allergen-proof mattresses, box springs and pillow cases can help. A HEPA air filter and using a vacuum with a HEPA filter can also help remove allergens and keep your indoor air cleaner.

Your heating and cooling system can also spread allergens throughout your home. In addition to routine cleaning, certain materials like cheesecloth over your vents can help prevent the spread of allergens.

When it comes to pets, it is best to keep them out of your bedroom and off the bedding to help reduce dander.

If your child has asthma, what can you do to check for additional allergens?

An allergen-specific antibody test or referral to an allergist for skin testing can help identify potential indoor allergens that may contribute to your child’s asthma. Once you know their triggers, you can work to remove or control the source of allergens to reduce their risk.

What else can you do to prevent asthma attacks — in addition to limiting allergens?

Some additional steps include reducing stress and focusing on relaxation. Of course, anyone who is sensitive should pay close attention to our air quality so they don’t increase their symptoms. It can also be helpful to exercise indoors, especially on very cold and hot days. But remember, doing these things only helps reduce your likelihood of an attack. It’s always important to carry an inhaler and make sure those around you know about your condition, just in case.

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