HealthDay News — Increased use of disinfectants during the COVID-19 pandemic may be tied to higher rates of uncontrolled asthma among asthma patients, according to research recently published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

Kamal Eldeirawi, PhD, RN, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues conducted an online survey in May 2020 of 795 US adults with asthma (81% female; 83% White; 71% with 4-year college degree or higher). Cleaning habits and hand hygiene frequency were assessed based on recollection before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the results of the survey, nearly 40% of respondents reported uncontrolled asthma in the previous four weeks. More than 95% of respondents reported increased handwashing practices, with 89% reporting increased use of alcohol-based sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic. The percentage of participants who reported household disinfectant use 5 or more times per week increased 138% for disinfectant wipes, 121% for disinfectant sprays, 155% for bleach and water solutions, and 89% for other disinfecting liquids during the pandemic.

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Use of any type of household disinfectants 5 or more times per week significantly increased the odds of uncontrolled asthma in unadjusted analyses. These findings persisted significantly for wipes and other liquids in adjusted analyses.

“Healthcare providers should recognize the potential impact of cleaning/disinfecting practices on people with asthma, particularly the use of known asthmagenics such as bleach and other disinfectants,” the authors write.

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