Useful things to do during pregnancy and after birth to reduce the chances of your child developing asthma - suggestions from Dr Frances Pitsilis in New Zealand.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the respiratory tract - an exaggerated production of the immune system messengers known as leukotrienes, which are implicated as chemical triggers of inflammation.

It stands to reason that anything that can cause inflammation in the body could influence asthma - this can include food, stress, and your environment.

International research has noted that asthma rates have doubled across the civilised world since 1980. In 1989, one of the researchers has suggested the "Hygiene Hypothesis" which many others have also looked into over the last two decades.

Simply put, the Hygiene Hypothesis is the theory that naturally occurring infections somehow immunise the body against the development of asthma, allergic diseases and auto immune disease.

If the body sees a lot of these natural infections, the immune system is skewed away from allergy and auto immune disease. If it doesn't, and it gets too many antibiotics in the first year of life, and, in essence, its environment is "too clean", then the immune system moves towards allergy.

This theory came from the observation that children who are second or later in the family, and those who attend daycare get fewer allergic diseases.

Circumstances that seem to be protective against asthma are - early daycare, animal exposure, farm living, having many siblings and bacterial exposure.

Things that appear to move the body towards asthma include obesity, dust mite exposure and tobacco smoke.

International research has made specific suggestions to help avoid the development of asthma:


More articles on asthma treatment

First Published in 2009

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