Children with asthma who are aged 2-16 years and who are looked after by a hospital doctor who is trained and experienced in asthma will be invited to take part. Children who are aged 5-16 years and have asthma diagnosed by their family doctor will also be invited to take part. Those who agree to take part have the choice of doing some or all of the following:
- Complete an asthma questionnaire and provide a sample of spit from which we can study genes. This can be done at home.
- Complete a dietary questionnaire. This lets us study how diet may influence asthma and the role genes has to play in this. This can be completed at home.
- A quality of life questionnaire. This lets us understand how asthma affects children's quality of life. This can also be completed at home.
- Skin allergy testing. The involves putting drops of water containing things people can be allergic to, eg dust mite, and then scratching the skin under the drop; this lets the water into the skin and if there is an allergy a midge-bite/nettle-sting type of small lump will appear for 20-30 minutes. We are testing several allergens including dust mite, egg, cat hair, grass, mould and peanut. This will be done at the hospital.
- Breathing tests. In children over 5 years old we will do a breathing test called spirometry and then repeat this 15 minutes after taking two puffs of the blue inhaler. This will let us see if the airways are narrowed and if so whether the blue inhaled helps widen the airways. This is done at hospital.
- Salivary cotinine. This is a substance which is related to breathing in second hand tobacco smoke and lets us study how this exposure is related to symptoms. The spit sample is collected in the hospital.