The relationship between second-hand smoke and wheezing in infants from Córdoba, Argentina
Abstract Background Wheezing constitutes a common respiratory symptom in children, and several risk factors have been associated with the prevalence of recurrent wheezing (RW) and its severity, especially viral respiratory infections and second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure. Objective To analyze the relationship between smoking patterns in the home and wheezing, in infants from the city of Cordoba, Argentina, during their first year of life. Methods Parents of infants were invited to complete a standardized questionnaire voluntarily and anonymously (WQ-P1-EISL). Wheezing in the first 12 months of life was classified as occasional wheezing (OW) when having one or two episodes during the first 12 months of life; recurrent wheezing (RW) if having three or more, and more frequent wheezing (MFW) ≥6 episodes. Results 409 infants (39.0%) had one or more episodes of wheezing in the first 12 months. Of these, 214 infants (52.3%) presented occasional wheezing (OW), 135 (33%) had recurrent wheezing (RW), and 60 (14.7%) more frequent wheezing (MFW). SHS was significantly related to MFW, especially if the mother smoked (OR = 2.7; IC 95%: 1.4–5.18; p = 0.0009) or if she smoked during pregnancy (OR = 4; IC 95%: 1.8–8.5; p = 0.0001). This group of MFW was also associated with SHS as well as having been to the emergency room for wheezing (40.87%, p = 0.0056). Conclusion The results indicate that second-hand tobacco smoke is a significant risk factor for the presence of wheezing in infants, and for its severity. Our findings have significant implications for public health, as smoking is a modifiable behavior.