Asthma impacts kids and adults everywhere, but it has particularly profound impact in low-income areas. It is one of the leading causes for health-related school absences, according to this story published at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website, which examines whether school absenteeism is related to school-level concentration of low-income students, independent of family income.
Results indicate that students who attend schools with the highest concentrations of low-income students were more likely to miss school because of asthma. The study concludes that “the use of school level interventions to decrease school absenteeism due to asthma should be explored, especially in schools with high concentrations of low-income students. Potential interventions could include school-based asthma education and disease management or indoor and outdoor air pollution control. Sub-micron filtration in schools is a tool that possibly could help.
Another study cited in a story at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC/Health) website suggests that “right bugs at the right time could be the best way of preventing allergies and asthma. In the body, bacteria, fungi and viruses outnumber human cells 10 to one, and this “microbiome” is thought to have a huge impact on health. A team, at the University of British Columbia and the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, compared the microbiome at three months and at one year with asthma risk at the age of three. Children lacking four types of bacteria – Faecalibacterium, Lachnospira, Veillonella, and Rothia (Flvr) – at three months were at high risk of developing asthma at the age of three, based on wheeze and skin allergy tests. The same effect was not noticed in the microbiome of one-year-olds, suggesting that the first few months of life are crucial. Further experiments showed that giving the bacterial cocktail to previously germ-free mice reduced inflammation in the airways of their pups.
Exposure to Environmental Microorganisms and Childhood Asthma, a piece at the New England Journal of Medicine website, cites results that show: Children who lived on farms had lower prevalences of asthma and atopy and were exposed to a greater variety of environmental microorganisms than the children in the reference group. In turn, diversity of microbial exposure was inversely related to the risk of asthma (odds ratio for PARSIFAL, 0.62; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.44 to 0.89; odds ratio for GABRIELA, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.75 to 0.99). In addition, the presence of certain more circumscribed exposures was also inversely related to the risk of asthma; this included exposure to species in the fungal taxon eurotium (adjusted odds ratio, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.18 to 0.76) and to a variety of bacterial species, including Listeria monocytogenes, bacillus species, corynebacterium species, and others (adjusted odds ratio, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.38 to 0.86).