With allergy season starting up, many people will find themselves dealing with stuffed-up noses and bleary eyes in the weeks ahead.
That may not be a reality for children moving into the future, however, as a new joint study between Queens University and Kingston General Hospital is looking into just how those allergies are caused.
The study followed 400 mother and child pairs to find out what factors both inside and outside the house will predictably lead to an allergy.
Lead author of the study Dr. Anne Ellis joined Simi Sara to talk about their preliminary findings.
She says that for the most part, the results confirmed those of past tests.
“It certainly reiterated something we’ve known for a very long time, which is the most useful thing to prevent the development of allergy or asthma in your baby is to stop smoking if you currently smoke, and certainly don’t start.”
But the finding that surprised Ellis and the rest of the team the most is that a common household item seemed to have almost as much of an effect as cigarette smoke.
“Now we’ve got some preliminary data that suggest perhaps the use of indoor air fresheners may be something to rethink.”
According to the study, households that utilize air fresheners may see similar results to those that expose their children to cigarette smoke.
And when both of those aspects converge, like when cigarette smokers use air fresheners to mask the stench, it could lead to harsher effects like severe asthma.
The study also said that factors people commonly attribute to the origin of allergies, such as pet hair and carpeting, aren’t as guilty as once thought.
However, Ellis added that these are preliminary findings, and by no means bulletproof.
She says their next steps are tightening how their data is collected.
“The next set we really want to now bring into something a little more objective than just parent self-reports.”
Those steps forward include analyzing data from skin tests of children under a year old, as well as data from the next three years of their lives.
Ellis says the results of those tests will have even more to tell.
“It’s a slow process, unfortunately, to crunch numbers and get papers together and more importantly convince a journal to publish it, but we’re looking forward to having much more data in the days and years to come.”