02 September 2006

Asthma among children

Maternal smoking can trigger childhood asthma and that it contributes to the development of asthma in adults. With the prevalence of asthma having increased by about 40 to 50 per cent over the past decade in the world, about 10 per cent of the children globally are asthmatic. A child suffering from asthma is susceptible to frequent colds, nocturnal cough, a feeling of breathlessness on exercising, tightness in the chest and wheezing.

A household that has an asthmatic child should avoid carpets, stuffed toys, woolen blankets and pets. Smoking cigarettes and exposure to smoke also worsens the condition. Medications designed to treat asthma, high blood pressure, and depression can lose their effectiveness in combination with nicotine.

Parents' smoking status is one of the most important environmental factors in the health of the child. Many children die from tobacco exposure, and children with household smokers miss an average of six extra school days a year. Children whose parents smoke are more likely to have wheezing, asthma, bronchitis, sudden infant death syndrome, middle-ear disease and other cognitive and behavioral problems.

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