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Does father really know best? Maybe not when it comes to controlling asthma

Asthma symptoms affect an estimated 26 million Americans and are one of the leading causes of work and school absences. People who suffer from asthma know it's a challenge to make sure symptoms are under control at all times. And it's even a challenge to know where to get the best information on how to do that.

According to a study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting, teens and caregivers have different levels of health literacy, and teens don't necessarily get their information from caregivers when it comes to managing asthma symptoms.

"We went into the study thinking that parents or caregivers would be an important source of information for teens with asthma, and that their health literacy scores would more or less align," said allergist and ACAAI member Jeana Bush, MD, lead study author. "What we found was that there was significant disagreement between the two groups, and, that in certain groups, teens had better health literacy, which may mean they are more knowledgeable about controlling asthma than their parents."

So where are teens and others with asthma getting their information on asthma control?

Another study, also presented at the ACAAI Annual Scientific Meeting, showed the most-viewed asthma videos on YouTube did not necessarily score well when it came to high quality of content. The study examined the 200 most viewed relevant videos using the keyword "asthma."

"The most commonly viewed video content was on alternative treatments," said allergist and ACAAI member Alexei Gonzalez-Estrada, MD, lead study author. "Some of the treatments that came up were live-fish ingestion, reflexology, raw food/vegan/gluten-free diets, marijuana and salt therapy, none of which are scientifically proven. Videos by asthma health-care providers were rated the highest in quality, but unfortunately, they were not the most viewed."

The abundance of poor-quality informational videos on asthma control led the study authors to suggest that asthma sufferers should be checking the web sites of asthma organizations and health-care providers for the best quality content. Find videos on asthma control on ACAAI's YouTube channel.


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