Scientists have found that in many cases, asthma attacks can be triggered not only by allergens and other triggers, but also by smells. Moreover, it is not necessary that a specific smell be present. Often, asthmatics only need one suspicion of an “unbearable” smell, and then everything develops according to a trigger mechanism. They published their findings in the Journal of psychosomatic Research .
The mechanism of this phenomenon is the formation of a conditioned reflex against the background of increased reactivity. It consists in the following: in a certain situation – in a period of exacerbation of asthma, against the background of emotional stress or any activity, a person encounters an unpleasant or pleasant smell. The smell itself doesn’t really matter. The main thing is that an asthmatic, starting to breathe more deeply and often, “wakes up” the increased reactivity of the bronchi, which is an important component of the pathological process. An example of increased reactivity is coughing in a gassy atmosphere or thick fog, which can be observed even in healthy individuals. And in an asthmatic, this causes an immediate bronchospasm. Further attempts to “breathe” only aggravate the situation and an asthma attack develops. All! The conditioned reflex has been created. And in the future, if an asthmatic encounters a smell that simply resembles that one, an asthma attack immediately develops. This is called “cortical regulation of vegetative functions”. And in the future, even the suspicion of a similar smell, or even unpleasant memories associated with it, can provoke an attack of suffocation. That’s where you can remember Pavlov’s dogs with their conditioned reflexes.
Asthma in children in the city
Are asthma and allergies more common among city kids?
Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in the United States found that one in ten children in the city suffer from food allergies. Because asthma follows allergy. We can conclude: asthma and allergies are an urban ailment!
This was discovered during the observation of 516 children who spent the first 5 years of their lives in Baltimore, Boston, St. Louis and New York. Scientists observed the general well-being of children and local manifestations of ailments, partly analyzed the presence of allergens in the diet.
According to The Telegraph found that 55% of children have allergic sensitivities to eggs, milk and peanuts. 10% of children were diagnosed with a full-fledged allergy to the mentioned products. It is important that even babies were at risk . At the same time, children
living in sparsely populated villages are half as prone to allergic reactions. Scientists suggest that this is due to the widespread use of antibiotics, disinfectants and caesarean sections in densely populated areas, which makes it difficult for the body to independently develop defense mechanisms against irritants. About the connection: asthma and allergies = the role of microbes has been written many times. Here is another confirmation of this.
This observation can be very stimulating for the proponents of the “hygiene hypothesis”. Its essence is that the influence of microbes at an early age can help the child “build” immunity against asthma and allergies, since it is noticed that the presence in the body of a high concentration of endotoxin – a compound secreted by many bacteria – partially solves the problem.