Asthma UK community forum

Do We Make Situations Worse!?

Ok, so ive just been browsing lots and lots both on here and websites, and a random thought sprung into my head... you think that sometimes we make things worse for ourselves, as in avoid everything possible and change our lifestyles so much to ""help"" our lungs. What I was think was, I wonder if, if we did use the odd spray here and there, not change the type of bedding we have, have certain pets ( and so on, your prob getting the jist)

Would our bodies start to build a kind of immunity to them, so that when we are exposed to them, our lungs dont throw the strop of the century!?

Im not expecting huge scientifical explantions (although that would be cool) I just wondered what your thoughts were . I asked my mum what she thought and she said that the only exposure she put me infront of was smoking whilst pregnant with me, and then when i was diagnosed at 3 months she went crazy of doing everything the gp said like getting anti allergen pillows and duvets etc, having every jab under the sun and so on...and she isnt entirly convinced it helps as im worse now than what i was all those many moons ago.

What do you guys think!?


Ps sorry for the utter randomness here, thought id keep you all busy and get those minds ticking (never know, may distract the lungs a little)


5 Replies

Well there is some support for the idea of not living in a bubble as it's meant to be healthier to be exposed to germs etc as you're growing up.

My mum was the youngest of three, and she says when her older brother was born there was a fad for sterilising everything - he was practically wrapped in clingfilm, and he got LOADS of really serious illnesses like polio and scarlet fever in childhood. By the time it came to my mum her mum couldn't be bothered to keep sterilising everything so my mum rolled around on the floor with the dog - and she was much healthier than her brothers (her other brother had pretty bad asthma).

Doesn't always work though - I got lots of dirt, my mum wasn't a slob but she wasn't obsessed with cleaning or anything, and we always had cats which is actually meant to reduce a child's chances of having asthma if they grow up with them, but though I actually had a pretty good immune system as a result and hardly ever got colds, I still managed to get asthma at age 7 (even if it turns out I don't have it now, I definitely did back then). So I guess it depends - but with me there was a really strong family history so I'm not sure how much all this would have changed anything - maybe it helped as my asthma was only mild then seemed to mostly go away. haha. (Sodding swine flu).

Kind of rambling here - so just wondering if maybe it helps to be exposed to things before you get asthma but not once you're actually sensitive to it? I'm now sensitive to several things I didn't use to be sensitive to and was exposed to a lot (like flowery smells); I know that some allergens can actually build up, so that the reaction will be worse after the first one (like eg wasp stings), so it clearly wouldn't work with everything. (Though the smells are apparently irritants not allergens so will have a slightly different mechanism, even if the end result is the same).

Am I right in thinking they don't really know exactly what causes asthma to be severe or mild, or why some ppl can change between them?


Both my sister and I were diagnosed with Eczema at very young ages, as a result my dear ole mum6 was told not to do this, do that. So we had a childhood of living with a very house proud mum, because everything had to be dust free. From a mental point of view I can remember it being pure hell for me. One incident sticks out in my mind, mum always used to make me sit on one particular chair covered in a white sheet and when I got up she would neatly fold it all inwards and take it outside to shake all the dead skin away. I was probably about 5 or 6 then, I am 41 now. I still cannot relax totally in my family home because my mum despite both us kids leaving home over twenty years ago cannot let go some of her more extreme cleaning habits.

So from a personal point of view somethings that parents are expected to do to protect their kids from allergies can cause long term issues. There is nothing wrong in making sure your home is clean and tidy, and of course avoiding certain pets and other allergens if they make your health bad, but sometimes you can just go too far. I have done the fancy vacuum cleaners, the specialist bedding, no carpets etc, and all to no avail. My allergies and asthma are as rubbish as ever. What I do now is live in a home that meets my needs and enjoy what I can within in reason. With or without a dog my health is rubbish, so I choose to have a dog because the mental health benefits far outweigh the odd sniffle and itch.

In my own mind I think if I am already predisposed to certain things happening to my body, what ever I do they will happen. So my answer to it all is if you can do it without major mishap enjoy what you can, because the way medical science is going, they change their recommendations to suit whatever research is available at the time. My mum was over the top in her cleaning because the medical people told her she had to be, look at me now I have a list of all sorts of allergies that have turned my life upside down, my sister who was treated in just the same way, is able to work for a living and hardly suffers with her asthma at all. So is medical thinking back in the 70's at fault for my health? I think not because if that was so, why is my sister leading such a better quality of life when we were both exposed to the same lifestyle for over 18 years.


My thinking on this is very muddled (well, so's my thinking generally most of the time). We know that the tendancy to asthma, exema and other allergies runs in families so from that point of view it appears that we're predisposed to having asthma.

However, you also read that as our homes become cleaner so the number of people with asthma increases, so from that point of view we've got asthma because our immune systems haven't got enough real work to do so they pick on something that's pretty harmless to get all bent out of shape about and throw a hissy fit over an air freshener or a bit of dust.

My mother was a ferocious cleaner and dirt in all its forms was her mortal enemy. Even now, when she hasn't got a thought in her head she'll pick up a cloth and start cleaning. The only exception was my brother who, as a small child, formed an unholy alliance with our corgi (a nasty, snappy little beast if ever there was one) and he used to sleep in her bed, play with her toys and quite literally steal the bone she was chewing so that he could gnaw on it too. I have asthma. My sister had asthma. My brother doesn't. Is it possible that his immune system was educated when he was small to understand what it should react to and what it should ignore?

Beats me!


Just from my own personal experience, I would say avoid triggers where you can. I have a long list of triggers such as cigarette and any other type of smoke, perfume, scented candles, air fresheners, aerosols, exercise, humidity with heat, grass pollen, tree pollen and the list goes on. But when I have had periods of little or no symptoms these very same triggers either affect me slightly or not at all. All I can put it down to is how inflamed my airways are/how controlled my asthma is.


Thank you for taking the time to share your stories and experiences, its great to hear what people think about how we are braught up and put into the elements of ""asthma triggers""

hope you are all doing well



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