|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News|Common Childhood Vaccine Won't Worsen Juvenile Arthritis: StudyBPA Exposure Tied to Undescended Testicles in BoysSibling Bullying Can Lead to Depression, Anxiety in VictimsHealthy and Less Healthy 'Kid's Menu' Meals Similar in PriceHealth Tip: Protect Kids' EyesEarly, Severe Flu Season Caused Big Rise in Child Deaths: CDCTV Commercials May Spur Junk Food Habit in Kids, Study FindsUSPSTF: Evidence Lacking for Child Abuse Preventive EffortsMany Families in Underserved Areas Access, Use TechnologyCutting Unneeded CT Scans in Kids Could Lower Future Cancer RiskFlu Shots at School Boost Vaccination Rates, Study FindsKids With Past Concussions Take Longer to RecoverSummer Camp Health Tips for ParentsDrowning Prevention Measures to Keep Kids Safe in WaterHealth Tip: Get Your Child to the Eye DoctorHealth Tip: Choosing Your Child's PediatricianHealth Tip: Keep Kids Active During Summer BreakWhooping Cough Cases Rise as Parents Opt Out of VaccineMore Kids Being Poisoned by Prescription Drugs: StudyWebsite All About Child Health -- in SpanishWith Legalization, Marijuana Poisoning Up in YouthScientists Spot Genes Tied to Success at School, CollegeHealth Tip: Help Kids With Diabetes Deal With ShotsMissed Well-Child Care Visits Linked to More HospitalizationsA Strong Marriage Can Shield Kids From Dad's Depression: StudyPediatricians Can Aid Children Exposed to Military DeploymentWomen's Weight-Loss Surgery May Benefit Later OffspringMilitary Families May Need Help With Mental HealthType 2 Diabetes Progresses Faster in Kids, Study FindsToo Few Kids Use Fast-Food Calorie Info, Study FindsIodine Deficiency Has Negative Impact on Child CognitionChildren Who Have CT Scans May Face Higher Cancer RiskATS: Adenotonsillectomy Offers Relief to Kids With Sleep ApneaWeather Worries Can Threaten a Child's Mental HealthPrimary Care Docs Should Play Role in Kids' Dental Health, Experts SayStudy: Older Whooping Cough Vaccine More EffectiveHealth Tip: Help Children Eat Healthier1 in 5 U.S. Kids Has a Mental Health Disorder: CDCSchool-Based Smoking Prevention Programs WorkBrain Anatomy in Dyslexics Varies By Gender, Study FindsEven Mild Iodine Deficiency Can Affect Child's CognitionMany U.S. Kids Victims of Violence, Abuse: SurveyMore Time in Gym Class Equals Stronger KidsMagnesium-Rich Food May Help Keep Kids' Bones StrongGasoline Poisonings in Kids Spike During Summer: StudyPAS: Children With Strep Don't Need to Toss ToothbrushesMany Parents Texting, Phoning While Driving Their Kids: SurveyMany Suicidal Kids Have Access to Guns at Home: StudyMore Kids Diagnosed With Mental Health Disabilities, Study Finds1997 to 2011 Saw Increase in Allergies Among U.S. ChildrenLinks
Secondhand Smoke May Impair Children's Cough Reflex
by -- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
Updated: Aug 20th 2012
MONDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Secondhand smoke impairs children's vital cough reflex, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the Monell Center in Philadelphia found exposure to secondhand smoke lowers kids' sensitivity to irritants that would normally make them cough. And because these children's lungs aren't protected through coughing, they are at greater risk for pneumonia, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases.
Despite these increased risks, the study showed children exposed to secondhand smoke may be more likely to develop a smoking habit because experimentation with cigarettes may be less unpleasant for them.
"Cough protects our lungs from potentially damaging environmental threats, such as chemicals and dust. Living with a parent who smokes weakens this reflex, one of the most vital of the human body," study co-director Julie Mennella, a developmental biologist at Monell, said in a news release from the Center.
For the study, the researchers had 38 healthy children, ranging in age from 10 to 17, inhale increasing concentrations of capsaicin (the burning ingredient in chili peppers) from a nebulizer to make them feel like they had to cough. Of the participants, 17 were regularly exposed to secondhand smoke at home and 21 were never exposed to smoke at home. The children's parents were also tested.
The researchers kept increasing the amount of capsaicin the participants inhaled until the person coughed twice. Once that happened, the level of the irritant was recorded as the study participant's cough threshold.
Children exposed to secondhand smoke needed twice as much capsaicin to trigger coughing as the kids who were not exposed to secondhand smoke. Parents who were exposed to smoke were also less sensitive to the irritating cough stimulants.
Exposure to secondhand smoke increases a child's risk for developing respiratory illnesses, the researchers concluded.
"This study suggests that even if an exposed child is not coughing, his or her respiratory health may still be affected by secondhand smoke," study co-director Paul Wise, a sensory scientist at Monell, said in the news release.
Future research will investigate if reduced sensitivity to irritants makes smoking more pleasant for teenagers, and whether or not an impaired cough reflex can be reversed, the study authors said.
Sixty percent of American children aged 3 to 11, as well as 18 million young people aged 12 to 19, are exposed to secondhand smoke on a regular basis, the researchers noted.
The findings were published Aug. 20 in the journal Tobacco and Nicotine Research.
The American Cancer Society provides more information on secondhand smoke.
This article: Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.