Asthma and Respiratory Health

Respiratory health refers to the health of the organs that we use for breathing. Asthma is a common breathing disorder.

What is Asthma?

  • Asthma is a common respiratory disorder that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow, leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.
  • Asthma can be caused by both genetic and environmental factors.
  • Environmental risk factors for asthma and respiratory disease include airborne allergens, such as pollen and fungi, and chemical pollution.
  • Asthma can place serious limitations on daily life if not carefully controlled, and can cause death in some cases.

Children with Asthma

  • Childhood asthma rates in the USA have increased dramatically over the past 30 years, for unknown reasons. Currently, about 1 in 10 chidren in the United States has asthma. This can place a burden on families, schools, the health care system, as well as the children themselves.

CERCH and Asthma

  • The CHAMACOS Study is investigating the role of early life environmental exposures in the development and exacerbation of asthma.  A common part of CHAMACOS participant visits is a home inspection where researchers evaluate household environmental risks by collecting house dust and air samples for analysis, and assessing factors such as household pest infestations, pet ownership, mold growth, gas stove use, and tobacco smoking.

Findings from CERCH Research on Asthma and Respiratory Health:

From the CHAMACOS Study: Health Outcomes Study – 

  • Children born in the fungal season exhibited an increased odds of asthma diagnosis by age 2 compared to those born in the summer. (Go to publication)
  • Exposure to specific fungal spores and pollens in the first 3 months of life were associated with wheezing at age 2 years. (Go to publication)
  • Risk of asthma diagnosis by age 2 also increased in association with early life exposure to tobacco smoke, fine particulate air pollution, pets, and gas stoves. (Go to publication)

For more information on Asthma, visit:

Print This Page Print This Page