Warmer homes help children with asthma

This nine-page paper, written by researchers at the University of Otago, was published today in the British Medical Journal.

The study examined 409 children in five NZ communities between the ages of 6 and 12 with diagnosed asthma, both before and after more effective heating was installed in their homes. The better heating included heat pumps, flued gas heaters or pellet burners.

Compared with children in the control group, children in the intervention group had 1.80 fewer days off school, 0.40 fewer visits to a doctor for asthma, and 0.25 fewer visits to a pharmacist for asthma.

Children in the intervention group also had fewer reports of poor health, less sleep disturbed by wheezing, less dry cough at night and reduced scores for lower respiratory tractsymptoms than children in the control group. The intervention was associated with a mean temperature rise in the livingroom of 1.10°C and in the child’s bedroom of 0.57°C.

Findings: “Non-polluting, effective heating did not significantly affect measured lung function of children with asthma but it improved wellbeing and reduced symptoms of asthma and days off school.”

For further details contact:

Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme University of Otago, Wellington. Tel: 04 918 6047 Mob:027 220 1620 Philippa.howden-chapman@otago.ac.nz

To speak to other experts on asthma or respiratory health contact the Science Media Centre on 04 499 5476 or smc@sciencemediacentre.co.nz