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Disinfecting during pandemic puts asthmatics at risk

Increased cleaning by people with asthma during the pandemic may be triggering flares of their disease, a new report suggests.

Researchers who surveyed 795 U.S. adults with asthma between May and September found the proportion who disinfected surfaces with bleach at least five times a week rose by 155% after the pandemic started. Use of disinfectant wipes, sprays, and other liquids also increased, the researchers reported in Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology: In Practice. After accounting for other behaviors and risk factors, higher odds of having uncontrolled asthma were linked with greater household use of disinfectant wipes, disinfectant sprays, bleach and water solutions, and other disinfecting liquids.

The study does not prove that increased frequency of disinfecting caused uncontrolled asthma. Still, the authors say, people with asthma need safer cleaning options.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises asthmatics to ask someone else to clean and disinfect surfaces and to stay in another room when cleaners or disinfectants are used and right afterward. It also said soap and water may be sufficient for surfaces and objects that are seldom touched.

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