by Katelyn Schwanke
(last updated September 5, 2008)
It is a commonly held belief that asthma is happenstance or related to family history however, there are a variety of steps that can be taken in order to prevent the onset of asthma. Parents play a critical role in protecting their children against an asthma diagnoses. The topics of breastfeeding, cleaning products, physical activity and allergen awareness all relate to what adults and parents can do to prevent asthma.
From the very first day of an infant's life, the parents can take action to prevent asthma. Mother's who breastfeed their children for 6 months exclusively and then 12 with formula incorporated provide their children with protection against ear infections, bacterial infections and asthma. Mother's milk provides antibodies without exposure to illness thus, protecting babies from asthma.
As children are growing up it is important that parents are aware of the dangers of cleaning products. Many people would suspect that this topic would dive into how it is important to use more cleaning products, with heavier duty chemicals but with asthma prevention in mind it is actually the exact opposite. Parents who clean their home with mild cleaning products, avoid drenching their children's hands in alcohol based hand sanitizer and control the urge to destroy every dust bunny in sight are actually protecting their children. The excessive use of bleach and sanitizer that kills 99.9% of bacteria does not allow children to develop antibodies against basic household allergies (pet dander, dust etc.) that will come in handy when protecting against asthma.
Adults and children alike can all benefit from an increase in physical activity and personal dietary improvement. The whole of the United States' population should center their meals on the Food and Drug Administration's Food Pyramid (mypyramid.org) and follow basic exercise suggestions (at least 30 minutes of exercise daily). Reducing prevalence of obesity and inactivity decrease asthma by allowing the lungs and heart to work less and more effectively.
The last tactic in preventing asthma relates to a general awareness of exposing you or your child to allergens. Parents should carefully observe children's physical reactions to a variety of foods, pollens and animals. Adults should be aware of their physical reactions to chemicals or gases in the workplace. If wheezing, coughing, dizziness or general respiratory distress is noted, limit exposure and seek a physician's advice.
Taking each of these steps is important in the prevention of asthma and will help improve quality of life.
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