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Merck Manuals Offers Guidance on Eliminating Asthma Triggers
KENILWORTH, N.J., July 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Asthma is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions afflicting children in the United States, and it's becoming more common. The condition, defined by narrowing of airways in the lungs, is brought on by specific triggers and allergens. These triggers can cause asthma attacks and play a role in patients developing asthma in the first place.
Patients and parents are rightfully focused on identifying specific asthma triggers for themselves or their children and eliminating those triggers from the home. But more and more research suggests environments that are too clean can actually limit children's tolerance of certain allergens. This effect, known as the "hygiene hypothesis," may lead to children with limited exposure to allergens developing asthma.
Emily J. Pennington, MD, Cleveland Clinic and author of the Merck Manuals chapter on asthma, offered some insight for parents and patients wondering how far is too far when it comes to eliminating asthma triggers at home.
Households with no asthma – moderation is the best approach
In a new editorial on MerckManuals.com, Dr. Pennington suggests taking basic steps for families with no one suffering from asthma at home. Keep your house clean by vacuuming regularly, changing air filters and minimizing dust and pet dander. But you don't need to go to extreme measures like giving away family pets, tearing out all your carpets and throwing away your pillows and drapes.
And remember that it's actually healthy for kids to get sick from time to time and put their immune systems to work.
Households with asthma – focus on finding the trigger
If someone in the house does suffer from asthma, it's critical to identify the triggers and work to eliminate them as much as possible.
Common household asthma triggers include:
- Inhaled allergens (such as dust mites, animal dander, particles from feathers, and pollen)
- Irritants (such as cigarette smoke, perfume or air pollution)
Most doctors will recommend keeping an asthma diary to help pinpoint exposures or activities that cause an individual's asthma. That can serve as a jumping off point for eliminating those triggers from daily life.
Identifying other asthma triggers
If you've eliminated household asthma triggers and asthma symptoms are still not under control, talk to a doctor about what else may be causing the condition. Other triggers like severe weather and stress may be more difficult to eliminate but can still be controlled.
The best way to identify specific asthma triggers and maintain effective treatment of asthma symptoms is to investigate and understand the basics of the condition and have an informed conversation with your doctor.
About The Merck Manuals and MSD Manuals
First published in 1899 as a small reference book for physicians and pharmacists, The Merck Manual grew in size and scope to become one of the world's most widely used comprehensive medical resources for professionals and consumers. As The Manual evolved, it continually expanded the reach and depth of its offerings to reflect the mission of providing the best medical information to a wide cross-section of users, including medical professionals and students, veterinarians and veterinary students, and consumers. In 2015, The Manuals kicked off Global Medical Knowledge 2020, a program to make the best current medical information accessible by up to three billion professionals and patients around the world by 2020. For access to thousands of medical topics with images, videos and a constantly expanding set of resources, visit MerckManuals.com or MSDManuals.com and connect with us on social media:
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SOURCE The Merck Manuals