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Asthma is a common chronic disorder with increasing prevalence both in children and adults. WHO estimates that annually 15 million disability adjusted life-years are lost and 250,000 asthma deaths are reported worldwide. Approximately 500,000 annual hospitaliza-tions (34.6% in individuals aged 18 y or younger) are due to asthma. To study the Relation-ship between environmental factors and childhood asthma in a rural area has been studied. A hospital based descriptive study was carried out in Punjab, over a period of one year in children (6-15yrs) having asthma. In 200 children studied (boys 64% and 36% girls), asthma attacks were increased during a particular season (86%), after exertional work (70%) and along with ARI(72%). The risk of asthma was more in children where smoke producing fuel was used (70%), presence of insects/pets/domestic animals (70%) and mois-ture, mold (42%) in the home, born prematurely/LBW (56%), with family history of atopy (44%), one smoker in family (38%), and who belonged to poor socio-economic status (44%).Breast feeding was protective in reducing the incidence by (62%).No relationship was found with consumption of junk food and emotional factors. This study shows that asthma is an important public health issue in rural communities as in urban areas. Breast feeding, use of LPG for cooking, early treatment of ARI reduces incidence of asthma attacks. Further study of indoor and outdoor risk factors which trigger attacks of asthma and study of means to reduce or delay the development of asthma in susceptible individuals in this population is suggested.
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Author(s): Seema Sharma Mangla Sood and Ashwani Sood
Asthma, environmental, risk, smoke