The Costs of Allergy and Asthma and the Potential Benefit of Prevention Strategies
The purpose of this review is to describe the burden of asthma in the human population and to review various interventions that have been proposed and in some cases tested to accomplish either primary or secondary prevention.
The most promising asthma prevention strategies to date have been those that use a multi-interventional approach employing both dietary and environmental manipulations. More research is needed to assess the long-term follow-up of multi-interventional trials and to evaluate novel intervention strategies in the primary or secondary prevention of asthma in childhood.
Given the significant burden of both asthma and allergies, methods to prevent their development would be a huge step forward. Though the evidence is encouraging for several prevention strategies, none of them are convincing enough to be recommended for widespread clinical use. Even so, some are currently being used in routine practice because they can reduce symptoms and prevent morbidity whether they prevent the underlying disease or not. This seems to be sufficient justification for their use at this time. If at some future date they are shown to be effective for primary or secondary prevention, then their use is that much more effective.
KeywordsAtopic Dermatitis Primary Prevention Food Allergy Allergic Rhinitis Allergic Disease
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