According to a recent study, children at high risk of asthma or allergies can benefit from living in a home that has been treated to remove common allergens. The researchers in the UK based study worked with 291 couples who suffered from allergies and were expecting a baby, a baby that would, by genetics, be considered high-risk for childhood allergies or asthma.

Half of the couples were instructed to provide an especially clean home. They removed as many irritants as possible, including treating for dust mites, removing pets, and controlling pollen. Carpets were removed from the infants’ rooms, and special vacuum cleaners were provided that remove more dust. Specialty bedding was provided for the babies to prevent dust mites, and the rest of the home received chemical treatments.

The research showed that at age one, the children living in the homes that had been treated were half as likely to have allergies or asthma than the children that lived in the untreated homes. The incidence of wheezing or shortness of breath during play (exercise induced asthma) was also significantly lower. While the long-term effects are unknown, the short term are surely worthwhile for parents to consider if they have a high-risk family.

Ramie Tritt, M.D., Atlanta ENT