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 were invited to take part. Children who are aged 5-16 years and have asthma diagnosed by their family doctor were also be invited to take part. Those who agreed to take part had 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 could be done at home.
- Complete a dietary questionnaire. This let us study how diet may influence asthma and the role genes has to play in this. This could be completed at home.
- A quality of life questionnaire. This let us understand how asthma affects children's quality of life. This could also be completed at home.
- Skin allergy testing. The involved putting on the skin 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 tested several allergens including dust mite, egg, cat hair, grass, mould and peanut. This was done at the hospital.
- Breathing tests. In children over 5 years old we did a breathing test called spirometry and then repeated this 15 minutes after taking two puffs of the blue inhaler. This let us see if the airways were narrowed and if so whether the blue inhaled helps widen the airways. This was done at hospital.
- Salivary cotinine. This is a substance which is related to breathing in second hand tobacco smoke and let us study how this exposure is related to symptoms. The spit sample was collected at the hospital.