Even low levels of air pollution can trigger asthma in babies, says a study

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A large Canada-based study has re-affirmed the fact that air pollution, even low levels, can be detrimental to your baby’s health

A large Canada-based study has re-affirmed the fact that even low levels of air pollution can be detrimental to your baby’s health and can, in fact, give him life-changing diseases such as asthma among other respiratory illnesses.

What the study says

The study especially observed babies under the age of five who were born to mothers exposed to air pollution from different traffic source, even in areas with low levels of pollution, during pregnancy.

The findings were published in the journal European Respiratory and looked at the variation in air pollution in urban areas and how it impacted the baby’s chances of contracting asthma. The large-scale study observed over 65000 Canadian children and followed them from birth until the age of 10 years.

"Our study results highlight the importance of exposure to pollution while babies are still in the womb. Air pollution from traffic sources increased the risk of developing asthma during early years before children reach school age, even in an urban area with relatively low levels of air pollution," said Hind Sbihi, from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, as reported by the Times of India.

Here are the other key findings of the study:

  • Mothers lived close to highways during pregnancy had a 25 percent increased relative risk of developing asthma, the study said.
  • Babies with a low birth weight were more susceptible to the respiratory effects of air pollution

The researchers monitored physician-diagnosed asthma cases among this group and also assessed exposure of mothers to air pollutants during pregnancy.

Tips to lower the chances of asthma in babies

While there are nothing that you can do prevent asthma in babies, there are certain tips that can reduce the chances of asthma in kids

  1. Know the triggers: Common asthma triggers are air pollutants, smog, dust, dander and pollen. If you see that your baby starts sneezing the moment he comes in contact with any of them, avoid them. Speak to you doctor if you see that your baby gets a cough or cold every time the weather changes, especially in the spring season.
  2. Breastfeed your baby as long as you can: Everyone knows about the amazing health benefits of breastfeeding, one of which is boosting the child's immunity. Which is why you must breastfeed your baby for at least a year after he's born. Even experts agree with that.
  3. Keep them away from tobacco smoke: Exposing babies to cigarette or tobacco smoke, even if secondhand, can also increase their chances of getting asthma.

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