The prevalence of environmental exposure to perceived asthma triggers in children with mild-to-moderate asthma: data from the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP).
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The Childhood Asthma Management Program, a 5-year randomized clinical trial of treatments for childhood asthma, has enrolled and characterized a cohort of 1041 children with mild-to-moderate asthma.We sought to describe self-reported sensitivities and environmental exposures and investigate the relationships between self-report of these exposures as asthma triggers and their prevalence in the home.Self-reports of sensitivities and home exposures were obtained by interview with the child or parent. Sensitivities were further assessed by using allergy skin testing (prick or puncture) against a core battery of allergens. Home exposures were further assessed by using analysis of a home dust sample.Environmental exposures were surprisingly common despite self-reported sensitivities to environmental factors. Of patients reporting that cigarette smoking frequently causes asthma symptoms, 26% reported having at least one parent who smokes cigarettes. Thirty-nine percent of patients reporting that exposure to animals frequently causes asthma symptoms live with a furry pet in their home. We found a smaller proportion of homes with a high level of cat allergen (P <.001) among the children who reported that animals frequently or always trigger asthma symptoms compared with those who reported that animals never or occasionally trigger asthma symptoms, suggesting modification of the home environment. No such results were seen for dog exposure. However, clinical symptoms did not reduce exposure to parental cigarette smoking (P =.15), house dust (P =.31), or damp and musty areas (P =.51).These data suggest that children with mild-to-moderate asthma are frequently symptomatic and exposed to a wide variety of environmental exposures that are perceived to trigger symptoms by means of self-report. Although environmental modification of asthmatic homes may occur, many children remain exposed to agents that are known to trigger their asthma.