Why the rise in asthma?
Since 1980 we have seen huge changes in diet, types of housing and heating, air pollution levels and medicines. Some scientists think that our use of antibiotics and antiseptics have produced an increasingly 'germ-free' environment. Fewer infections during childhood may mean our bodies are more likely to be oversensitive to harmless 'invaders', such as pollen. Researchers also think that childhood exposure to cigarette smoke may increase the risk of asthma. Whatever the environmental trigger, asthma may still only affect those who are already genetically susceptible.