Environmental toxicologists link household bacteria to asthma

Islamabad, November 14 (Newswire): Scientists have found that chemicals called endotoxins can inflame airways and trigger asthma.

Endotoxins are shed by bacteria in household dust. Experts say better home hygiene, washing bed linens in hot water at least once a week, and using allergen-prevention pillow cases and mattress covers can reduce the risk of asthma attacks.
Researchers say asthma and allergy triggers may be commonly found at home. That means there are things you can do to reduce the cause of your family’s symptoms.Image may contain: text

Steven Pannkuk loves playing with his kids but he worries about their health. “I have some asthma and allergies in my genetics,” he says. While genetics do play a role, environmental toxicologists say the bigger culprit may be in the carpet and other places that collect dust.

A new study indicates bacteria in household dust releases chemicals called endotoxins, which can inflame airways and trigger asthma.

Peter Thorne, an environmental toxicologist at the University of Iowa in Iowa City says, “If you think of a bacterium as an orange, the endotoxin is the material that makes up the peel. It’s the outer layer. And this becomes shed from bacteria, and it’s everywhere in the environment.

Researchers found the bedroom had fewer endotoxins, but it had a greater impact on a child’s health. After all, that’s where kids spend almost half their day. Plus, they have closer contact with the endotoxins. “Endotoxin in the home is related to higher rates of asthma,” Thorne says.

There are things you and your family can do to lower the amount of endotoxins: wash your bed linens in hot water at least once a week, reduce clutter so you can clean better, purchase allergen-prevention pillow cases and mattress covers and don’t eat in bed.

“I just try and be a little more conscious inside of what I can do so I can control my environment on the inside,” Pannkuk tells DBIS. He is stuck with his seasonal allergies but is happy he can control environmental factors that affect his family.

Another cause of asthma in the home is pet dander. Cases of asthma tripled among newborns to 4-year-olds between 1980 and 2000.