Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Children With Asthma Plagued By Smokers And Pets

Date:
July 9, 2002
Source:
National Jewish Medical And Research Center
Summary:
Two important triggers of asthma attacks are rarely removed from homes of children with asthma, according to a new study by researchers at National Jewish Medical and Research Center.

Two important triggers of asthma attacks are rarely removed from homes of children with asthma, according to a new study by researchers at National Jewish Medical and Research Center.

The study, published in the July issue of The Journal of Pediatrics, indicates that smoking and ownership of furred or feathered pets occurs just as often in homes of children with asthma as it does in the general United States population. But the research also provides insight that could help persuade more parents to remove these well-established asthma triggers from their homes.

"In our study of children with asthma, we were quite surprised to learn that households with smokers differed quite significantly from those with furred or feathered pets," said Frederick Wamboldt, M.D., Head of the Division of Psychosocial Medicine at National Jewish. "Smoking was generally associated with poor, nonwhite and highly stressed families, whereas pet ownership was associated with white families with greater asthma knowledge, older children and better family functioning. We believe doctors can more effectively counsel their asthma patients to remove asthma triggers from their homes if they take these differences into account."

Tobacco smoke and pet dander are two of the most common contributors to more severe asthma symptoms. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute has recommended that the first step in controlling asthma is reduction of exposure to irritants, such as tobacco smoke, and allergens, such as pet dander.

Dr. Wamboldt and his colleagues interviewed 152 children with asthma aged 7 to 18 years and at least one parent of each child about potential allergens and irritants in their homes, the child's asthma history, the family's asthma knowledge, education, occupation, family functioning, stressful life events and quality of life. At least one smoker lived in 38% of the homes, a prevalence comparable to large-scales studies indicating that 35% to 45% of homes in the United States contain at least one smoker.

Sixty-seven percent of the children lived in homes with a furred or feathered pet, slightly more than the 59% of U.S. homes reported to have pets.

However, smoking, pet ownership and adherence to asthma medications did not correlate with each other, indicating that they are different problems that must be addressed individually. When the researchers examined the socioeconomic and psychosocial data on these families they found distinctly different profiles for the households with smokers and those with pets.

"I believe that many doctors have two basic asthma patients in their minds: good ones who take their medicine, and avoid all irritants and allergens and bad ones who smoke, have pets and don't take their medications," said Dr. Wamboldt. "We have learned that the picture is decidedly more complex than that."

The households with smokers reported more stress and lower quality of life, less asthma-related knowledge and lower parental educational and occupational status than did non-smoking households.

"This suggests to us that smoking among parents of children with asthma should be viewed as an addiction rather than willful nonadherence with a doctor's advice," said Dr. Wamboldt. "Many parents may want to reduce their children's exposure to smoke, but cannot overcome their addiction to tobacco."

In light of that, Dr. Wamboldt and his colleagues recommend that doctors discuss the importance of smoking cessation repeatedly rather than only once when a child is first diagnosed with asthma. They also suggested giving advice on ways to reduce a child's exposure to smoke, such as smoking outside.

Households with furred or feathered pets were associated with older children, being white, better parental asthma knowledge, and better family functioning.

"Our findings suggest that families with pets have good resources and are otherwise relatively judicious in their asthma care," said Dr. Wamboldt. "As a result, physicians may have more success exploring the family's decision to acquire the pet, rather than simply telling them to get rid of the animal. If the family knows the child is not allergic to that particular animal or the child's exposure to the animal dander is well-controlled, then the benefits of pet ownership may outweigh potential liabilities. The physician could then discuss other strategies for controlling pet allergens, such as frequently bathing the pet."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Jewish Medical And Research Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Jewish Medical And Research Center. "Children With Asthma Plagued By Smokers And Pets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 July 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/07/020709055452.htm>.
National Jewish Medical And Research Center. (2002, July 9). Children With Asthma Plagued By Smokers And Pets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/07/020709055452.htm
National Jewish Medical And Research Center. "Children With Asthma Plagued By Smokers And Pets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/07/020709055452.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins