While there is no certain way to prevent
asthma, experts continue to look at things that may reduce a child's chance of getting asthma.
Irritants in the air
Common irritants in the air,
such as tobacco smoke and air pollution, can cause asthma symptoms in some
Controlling tobacco smoke is important because it is a
major cause of asthma symptoms in children and adults. If your child has
asthma, try to avoid being around others who are smoking. And ask people not to
smoke in your house.
- Pregnant women who smoke cigarettes during
pregnancy increase the risk for wheezing in their newborn
- Exposing young children to secondhand tobacco smoke makes
it more likely that the children will develop asthma and makes symptoms more
severe if the children already have the disease.
Consider keeping your child inside when air pollution
levels are high. Other irritants in the air (such as fumes from gas, oil, or
kerosene, or wood-burning stoves) can sometimes irritate the bronchial tubes.
Avoiding these may reduce asthma symptoms.
No one is sure if
breast-feeding affects a child's risk of getting asthma.
- Some studies show that
breast-feeding protects a child from getting asthma.13, 14
- Other studies show that
breast-feeding, especially when mothers with asthma breast-feed, may increase a
child's risk of getting asthma.15
- Two large studies
found that breast-feeding had no effect on the development of asthma.16, 17
Mothers are still encouraged to
breast-feed their children for all the other proven health benefits that come