Asthma is the most common chronic condition among children in the U.S, with Lung.org reporting that this disease affects around 6.1 million children aged under 18 years. Additional respiratory issues that can affect children include bronchiolitis (a lower respiratory tract infection that affects children under the age of two), and cystic fibrosis. Research indicates that poor air quality negatively affects these and other lung conditions. The EPA, meanwhile, has found that the air quality in many homes is between two and five times as poor as the air outside. How can air quality affect your child’s respiratory health, and what steps can you take to improve it?
Air Quality And Lung Conditions In Children
Many pollutants in the air (including ozone and airborne particles) can trigger asthma. These particles can pass through the mouth and nose and get into lungs, and they are present in everything from pet dander to dust, smoke and haze. A study published in the journal BMC Pulmonary Medicine, meanwhile, found that poor quality air “is linked to MRSA acquisition in young children with cystic fibrosis.” Because children spend so much time indoors, it is vital to take all the steps you need to purify the air at home. This can be achieved through filtration and the reduction of toxins in the immediate environment.
What Type Of Filtration Is Required?
A 2015 study published in the journal Lung India found that having a quality air filter system at home wields significant benefits to patients with asthma, as well as those with cardiovascular disease. This is because they are able to reduce levels of particulate matter and allergens which can enter the lungs. In fact, official guidelines on asthma management recommend the use of air filters for the removal of pet and other allergens. Relying on quality air filters is one thing, but installation is just as important, as is maintenance. Ill-fitting filters won’t do as efficient a job; nor will clogged or old filters that need replacement. You can also consider the use of HEPA filters in the rooms your child spends the most time in. In order to be effective, the filter will have to be indicated for the size of the room and the relevant ceiling heights.
Reducing Toxic Buildup
You can also work to reduce the amount of fine particulate matter your child is exposed to in many ways. One is to forego harsh cleaning products and to opt for frequent steam vacuuming instead. Another is to remove carpets and replace with hard flooring. Be aware of furnishings that may be making your child’s condition worse. Dangers include some soft furnishings (those with foam containing flame retardants) and new pressed wood furniture (which emits formaldehyde). Try to slowly replace harmful furniture and flooring with eco-friendly, doctor-approved materials.
Asthma is the most common chronic and respiratory condition affecting children. Unfortunately, many items at home (such as carpets, toxic paint and the like) could be making their symptoms worse. To improve air quality, start if you can by installing an efficient filtration system. Also, make an effort to clean using powerful but natural methods and replace potentially toxic items such as bedding and sofas containing flame retardants.