New asthma and allergy research

(Monday, October 27, 10:30 AM EST)

The use of in-home photography may be a more cost-effective alternative to in-home inspections for identifying asthma and allergy triggers. Researchers from Truman Medical Center and the University of Missouri, Kansas City, MO, selected 50 adult subjects with persistent asthma to take photos of a predetermined list of areas in their home using a disposable camera.

All subjects completed a questionnaire addressing triggers prior to and after taking in-home photos. All film was reviewed with the subjects at the third visit. Subjects then received education on the identified triggers and cost-effective measures to reduce or eliminate exposure. Three of the 50 subjects were randomly selected to receive an in-home assessment by a trained environmental specialist.

Triggers identified by in-home inspection by an environmental specialist were very similar to those identified by the use of a disposable camera. Results suggest in-home photography ($13 cost) may be a cost-effective alternative to professional visual home assessments ($300 to $400 cost).

(Monday, October 27, 2:30 PM EST)
Health-care utilization for children with asthma changes with the seasons, peaking in the fall. Using data from the United Healthcare database, researchers from the University of North Carolina reviewed health-care utilization patterns and asthma medication usage in children aged 2 to 5 years and 6 to 12 years from 2002 to 2004.

Results showed that health-care utilization was minimal in the summer; however, September consistently served as a point of inflection for health-care utilization for both age groups.

In October and November, peak emergency department visits for the two age groups were approximately 2.4 to 2.8 times higher than in July; outpatient visits were approximately 3.1 to 3.3 times higher; and hospitalizations were approximately 3.7 to 5.6 times higher. Asthma controller and reliever medications claims increased beginning in September and peaked in December. Rates for health-care use and claims for asthma medications also were elevated in February.

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