President, Nigeria Society for the Asthmatics, Professor Olusoji Mayowa Ige has told Nigerian women to exclusive breastfeed their babies to prevent them from developing asthma.
Professor Ige, who spoke during a rally to major markets in Ibadan as part of activities to mark the 2018 World Asthma Day, said when children are given artificial or cow milk, they end up becoming sensitised to developing asthma late in life.
He declared that “If the mother is asthmatic, there is about one-third probability of her offspring being asthmatic. If both parents are asthmatic, the risk becomes two thirds for that child.
“So, even if the child is genetically predisposed to the disease, you can delay for a longer period the onset of asthma in that child by practising exclusive breastfeeding. That is why we are saying that many of those allergic problems can be prevented by giving exclusive breast milk.”
The expert, who said cases of asthma in Nigeria, had increased by two folds in the last decade, linked this to increases intake of westernised diet, urbanisation and increased environmental pollution.
According to him, intake of milk and milk products, seafood, nuts as well as exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants such as vehicular and generator emissions, and cockroach drops, are some of the things that prone people to developing asthma.
“Westernised life is also causing trouble. Also, we discovered that diets that are deficient in Vitamin B, intake of seafood, milk and milk products, cereals, and groundnut are really the ones giving trouble,” he said.
Although about seven per cent of Nigerians currently has asthma, he added that the incidence of the disease is more in Northern Nigeria than Southern Nigeria because of the higher dust level.
Professor Ige, however, lamented that deaths from asthma were mostly prevented if they are diagnosed and treated early.
He also decried the high cost of asthma preventing medications and none inclusion of its treatment under the health insurance scheme.
He declared, “Many of them report late to hospitals because they underrate the severity of asthma, ignorance about the disease, do not adhere to their medications or get overexposed to asthma triggers. When they have an attack, by the time they get to the hospital, their airway is closed up and may end up dying.”
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