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Asthma is the most common chronic condition in children, and contrary to popular belief, it can affect infants as well as older children. Asthma is just one of many chronic lung conditions that can wrest from a baby’s health and well-being. Others include cystic fibrosis (a condition in which very thick mucus builds up in the body), breathing meconium into the lungs during delivery (which causes irritation and inflammation), and inherited problems. All these conditions can be worsened or triggered by poor air quality. Babies and children spend the vast majority of their time indoors. What steps can you take to ensure your home is a haven of pure, clean air?
The Link Between Poor Air Quality And Lung Disease In Infants And Children
Many studies have shown that poor indoor air quality exacerbates lung disease. One study published by researchers at the John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health showed there was a strong link between increased levels of particulate matter and the severity of asthma. Another found that after indoor smoking bans emerged, fewer children visited emergency rooms owing to asthma attacks. Yet another study published by the American Thoracic Society showed that infants exposed to higher levels of poor air had an increased risk for bronchiolitis. This is a common lower respiratory tract infection affecting babies and children under the age of two.
Keeping Indoor Air Clean
A study by V K Vijayan et al. has found that air filters can significantly improve the quality of indoor air. To do so, they should have a balance of good air flow, filtering efficiency, and the ability to allow for reasonably priced maintenance to ensure optimal functioning. Homeowners should also see all sizes of filters before deciding on one, choosing one that will prevent unfiltered air from seeping in. Another study by researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center has shown that high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can also significantly reduce fine particulate matter levels. These types of filters can be used in conjunction with each other for optimal effect.
Removing Sources Of Fine Particulate Matter And Other Toxins
Home dwellers can also improve air cleanliness by replacing items that result in the inhalation of fine particulate matter, dander, dust, etc. These include carpets, foam in soft furnishings (which can contain flame retardants) and pressed wood furniture (which can also release toxic formaldehyde). They can additionally steam vacuum the house regularly, relying less on harsh products like bleach and more on steam. For surface cleaners, they can opt for organic and gentle cleaning products, or even decide to make their own. Some cleaners are very easy and cheap to make. One all-purpose cleaner that can be made quickly contains a blend of hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, Castile soap, tea tree oil, water and lavender essential oil.
To prevent lung conditions in babies or to improve symptoms, creating a clean indoor air environment is key. This can be achieved by investing in a good filtration system and by considering the addition of HEPA filters to rooms that your baby spends considerable time in. You can also reduce the toxic load in your home by opting for simpler cleaning methods and DIY cleaners that are efficient, despite being easy and cheap to make.