Although no definitive way to prevent asthma exists, there are several things parents can do to reduce the risks that a child will develop asthma, or even help them grow out of it once it has developed.

How to Prevent asthma

1. Don’t smoke, either during pregnancy or afterwards, and avoid exposing your child to secondhand smoke.

2. Breastfeed for at least 4-6 months. This strengthens your baby’s immune system, reducing the risk of both asthma and allergies.

3. Some studies have found that following a Mediterranean diet during pregnancy can lower the risk of asthma in babies. (Greene 2009)

4. Don’t start your baby on solid foods before 4 months of age.

5. While pets can be an irritant to a child who already has asthma, having a dog or cat in the home reduces the chances of a child getting asthma in the first place.

6. Along the same lines, exposure to other children can also help prevent asthma. Day care plays a protective role, in that children who attend day care are less likely to develop asthma.

7. Allow your child plenty of outdoor play in nature. Children who grow up on farms have much lower rates of asthma, and it’s believed that their exposure to dirt, animals, and other natural settings is a big reason why.

8. Reduce a child’s exposure to allergens in the air, especially dust mites. Limit the use of rugs and curtains, which trap dust, and use dust-mite covers for pillows and mattresses. Try to wash all bedding weekly in hot water.

9. Keep your home free of mold and cockroaches.

10. Minimize antibiotic use, including antibacterial products. Many experts believe that these interfere with immune system development, making allergies and asthma more likely.

11. Avoid spending too much time outdoors when the air quality is poor to help prevent asthma. You can check it at airnow.gov. Studies show that children exposed to high levels of air pollution (particularly vehicle exhaust) are more likely to have asthma.

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