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Childhood Asthma Can Be Kept Under Control By Cost-Effective Home Based Interventions

A study conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of environmental interventions on asthma incidence has suggested that home based intervention program would be a cost effective way to improve the health of children// with the condition. The study was conducted among 900 children suffering from mild to moderate asthma.

The home-based program focused on six major classes of allergens that trigger asthma symptoms and included dust mites, cockroaches, pet dander, rodents, passive smoking and mold. The environmental interventions were tailored to each child's sensitivity to the selected allergens and evidence of exposure to these asthma triggers.

Participants received educational home visits that included specific measures for reducing or eliminating allergen levels inside the home such as the use of allergen-impermeable covers on the child's mattress, box spring and pillows; air purifiers with high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters; vacuum cleaners equipped with HEPA filters; and professional pest control.

The home-based interventions resulted in significant improvement in health status and reductions in resource use among the asthmatic children. Children who received the intervention had 19 percent fewer unscheduled clinic visits and a 13 percent reduction in the use of albuterol inhalers. Moreover, children in the intervention group experienced 38 more symptom-free days over the two-year course of the study than those in the control group.

The results highlight the fact that simple measures such as these could have a long-term impact on asthma treatment and prevention, especially in children exposed to multiple allergens, but lacking proper health care.

The findings could perhaps allow for effective allocation of resources in order to ensure optimal health benefits for each child afflicted with the disease.

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