It looks like a vaccine for asthma may be on the horizon, as scientists have found that a certain probiotic prevents breathing disorders in mice, The Mirror reports. The researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that asthma caused by adult exposure to cockroach waste was blocked in mice that were vaccinated as newborns.
This isn’t the first time lead author Dr. John Kearney studied the effects of probiotics on asthma symptoms. His previous studies found similar studies—after vaccinating mice with bacteria, he observed that they did not develop adult asthma after exposure a fungal allergen and house dust mites.
“The exposure has to happen early—in human equivalents, probably within the first two years”
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
“It’s pretty amazing,” Kearney told Science Daily. “We started doing neonatal immunisations in all three asthma models, and we found that all three were protected against asthma-like symptoms.”
Published in The Journal of Immunology, the study found that mice immunised with the probiotic worked if newborns were immunised, but not adults. “The exposure has to happen early—in human equivalents, probably within the first two years,” he explained. “The kinds of immune cells that appear early in life appear to change later in life.”
According to Mayo Clinic, though you can’t prevent asthma, you can manage the disease and prevent its symptoms. Here are some ways you can do just that.
1. Make an asthma action plan with your doctor
Because asthma is a lifelong condition, it’s best that you make a detailed asthma action plan that can help you Consult with your doctor and make a plan for when you should take your medications and how you should manage an asthma attack.
2. Get influenza and pneumonia vaccinations
Flu and pneumonia can trigger asthma flare-ups, so it’s best that you stay current with your vaccinations.
3. Measure and record your breathing regularly
An impending asthma attack is usually marked by coughing, wheezing, and shortness or breath. But your lung function could decrease even before these signs and symptoms. You can recognise an impending asthma attack by monitoring your breathing with a home peak flow meter. Doing so allows you to treat attacks early, making it less likely for you to have a severe attack.
4. Monitor how often you use your inhaler
If you notice yourself using your quick-relief inhaler more and more, that means that your asthma isn’t under control, and you should probably talk to your doctor about tweaking your treatment.