Living with a smoker hard on tiny infants

By Megan Rauscher

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Infants born at very low birth weights are at increased risk of lung ailments in the first 12 months of life, and a new study suggests that modifiable indoor respiratory triggers, namely exposure to cigarette smoke and pests in the home, may be at least partly to blame.

In a study of 124 very low birth weight infants, Dr. Jill S. Halterman from University of Rochester, New York and colleagues analyzed the impact of modifiable exposures on respiratory illness 1 year after discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit.

“In this study, we found that respiratory illnesses were very common among very low birth weight infants in their first year of life,” Halterman noted in comments to Reuters Health. “In fact, almost 1 in 10 infants had already been diagnosed with asthma at this very young age.”

According to the report in the Archives of Diseases in Childhood, 47 percent of infants required one or more acute care visits and 11 percent had to be hospitalized for respiratory illness.

Eighty-two percent of infants were exposed to at least one indoor environmental trigger, and one third lived in a home with a smoker. “The infants who lived with a smoker and those who were exposed to pests were more likely to need acute care for respiratory illnesses compared to those who weren’t exposed,” Halterman reported.

Exposure to pests in the home was defined as a yes answer to — “had or wanted to have an exterminator or used any chemicals in the past year to control for pests.”

In analyses controlling for relevant factors including family history of asthma or allergies, both living with a smoker and exposure to pests were independently associated with the need for acute care for respiratory illness.

This is an important finding, Halterman said, “because these represent modifiable exposures, which, if eliminated, could potentially have a significant influence on improving health for these young infants.”

She advises medical care providers to “talk to families about these risks and provide appropriate counseling and support to help families make needed changes in their homes.”

SOURCE: Archives of Diseases in Childhood, January 2009.


Related Posts:

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Fathers-to-be who smoke and want to protect the health of their families should take it outside, suggests new research from Korea. Newborns whose fathers had smoked in the home had higher levels of nicotine in their hair than babies born to non-smoking dads, Dr. Moon-Woo Seong of the National Center in

Full Post: Dad’s in-home smoking may harm family’s health

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Babies born four months before the peak cold and flu season have a 30 percent higher risk of developing asthma, U.S. researchers said on Friday, suggesting that these common infections may trigger asthma. “All infants are exposed to this and it is potentially preventable,” said Dr. Tina Hartert, director of the

Full Post: Autumn babies at greater risk of asthma: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Research from Italy provides new evidence that exposure to the industrial solvent benzene increases a person’s risk of developing multiple myeloma. Dr. Adele Seniori Constantini of the Center for Study and Prevention of Cancer and her colleagues also found an increased risk of chronic lymphoid leukemia with benzene exposure. Two other

Full Post: New study backs solvent, leukemia link

By Megan Rauscher NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A new study hints that young children who are exposed to general anesthesia may be put at significantly increased risk of having behavior problems or language or other “developmental” problems. These findings, reported today at the American Society of Anesthesiologists annual meeting, are “provocative but preliminary and I don’t

Full Post: Anesthesia may up kids’ behavior problems

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A test performed in early pregnancy to check for genetic defects such as Down’s syndrome in the fetus appears to be linked to increased chances that the baby will be born with a birthmark, or “infantile hemangioma,” researchers report. Chorionic villus sampling or CVS involves using a needle to collect samples

Full Post: Prenatal test may raise birthmark risk

Site Navigation

Most Read