Just read one of your other posts and saw that Vanessa has one of the more severe ich's likely lamellar. The research I referred to earlier made a genetic connection specifically between *ich vulgaris*, the filaggrin gene, and asthma/eczema.
Nonetheless, the 'physical' cause of asthma and eczema is that the reduced *barrier function* or abnormal permeability of IV skin allows foreign substances or allergens to enter the body through the skin. My understanding is that both asthma and eczema are the histamine reactions to these foreign substances entering the body. Lamellar, and other ich's, also has reduced barrier function so irritants could also be entering via the skin.
Asthma in my family, is simply constricted airways resulting in wheezing and difficulty breathing with no connection to colds/coughs. But it can be severe enough to require quick intervention (ie. hospital if medication is not handy). It is corrected by either using Ventolin (sp?) or Flovent inhalers depending on the severity. When allergens (ie. pollen) can be anticipated, anti-histamines like Reactine usually prevent the asthma attacks.
Interestingly in my family's experience, more frequent bathing to wash allergens off the skin (ie. after gardening or mowing the lawn, if pollen is a cause) also works very well to prevent asthma attacks. Sure you have to 'lotion-up' again, but it's worth the hassle to avoid the asthma. Depending on whether Vanessa's asthma is the result of allergens, you may want to see this technique is of benefit, if and when you identify the causes of her asthma.
[This message has been edited by gryphon (edited July 13, 2006).]