By Chioma Obinna

LAGOS — A new report by the Global Initiative for Asthma, G INA, to mark the 2015 World Asthma Day today, has dismissed earlier studies that claimed beneficial effect of breast feeding on asthma prevention, calling for caution on the conflicting results.

The report entitled: “Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention” stressed the need for caution to be taken by experts in advising families with asthma that breast-feeding can prevent asthma.

Asthma is a condition of the airways and people with asthma have sensitive airways in their lungs which react to triggers that set off their asthma. This makes it harder for them to breathe.

In Nigeria, the latest WHO data published in April 2011 showed that asthma deaths in Nigeria reached 10,871 or 0.64 percent of total deaths. The age adjusted death rate was also put at 15.55 per 100,000 of population and ranks Nigeria 37 in the world.

According to the new report, breast feeding decreases wheezing episodes in early life but it may not prevent development of persistent asthma.

“Regardless of its effect on development of asthma, breast feeding should be encouraged for all of its other positive benefits, the report noted.

The GINA report also noted that maternal intake of vitamin D and vitamin E was associated with lower risk of wheezing illnesses in children.

The report states that “delayed introduction of solids beginning in the 1990s, many national paediatric agencies and societies recommended delay of introduction of solid food, especially for children at a high risk for developing allergy.

“Current guidelines do not recommend strict avoidance of high-risk foods but carefully controlled prospective studies are needed to conclusively resolve this controversy.”

In a related development, a Consultant Chest Physician at the Department of Medicine, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Dr Cyril Chukwu, has said that no fewer than 25 per cent of admissions in teaching hospitals stem from respiratory tract infection, RTI.

Chukwu who said clean environment prevents asthma noted that most developed countries pay attention to environmental sanitation and tree planting, among other ecological beautifications aimed at reducing asthmatic attacks.

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