Better heating improves asthma

Children's asthma symptoms can be improved by installing more effective heating systems, a study conducted in New Zealand suggests.

Improved heating reduced children’s visits to a doctor for their asthma and also reduced reports of poor health, sleep disturbed by wheezing and lower respiratory tract infections. It did not, however, lead to a statistically significant improvement in children’s lung function, assessed as the primary outcome in the trial.

Researchers installed replacement heaters in the households of 200 children with asthma before the study and examined changes in lung function and asthma symptoms. A group of 209 children whose homes had new heaters installed after the study acted as a control group.

The replacement heaters reduced circulating nitrogen dioxide levels and increased living room temperatures by around 1C, to 17.1C, and bedroom temperatures by around 0.6C to 14.8C.

The researchers suggest that such environmental adjustments could be used as an effective addition to drug treatment for asthma.

BMJ Online

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