It is estimated that over 24 million Americans have asthma, of which almost six million are children. The intensity of symptoms are often subject to a degree of seasonality; temperature, humidity and pollen all have effects on the lungs. While there are steps parents can take to protect their asthmatic children, it is important to understand the most common triggers and how to address them.
The danger of mold
The spores released by mold and fungi can cause allergic reactions and trigger asthma if inhaled. The symptoms are not always experienced immediately and can worsen over time, making it difficult to pin down the source. Perhaps the primary cause of mold is humidity and damp environments such as those often found in basements and bathrooms. If you live in a humid region or have poorly ventilated, damp rooms, you may want to invest in a dehumidifier. Water intrusions, often stemming from cracks or leaks, are another prominent cause of mold. If mold growth has already begun, dealing with it quickly is important as the contamination can quickly spread to other areas of the house.
Shockingly, second-hand tobacco smoke may be as harmful to asthmatics as smoking itself. The smoke that burns from the end of a cigarette contains significantly higher proportions of harmful substances than what is inhaled by the smoker. For people with asthma, second-hand smoke can cause wheezing, coughing and other symptoms associated with asthma. Children are particularly affected as their small air passages cause symptoms to present themselves faster as mucus builds up in reaction to the smoke. Furthermore, the side effects can negatively impact lung function in later life. Clearly, it is a bad idea to smoke around any child but in the case of those affected by asthma it can have particularly serious, far-reaching consequences. If you or someone in your household smokes, ensure that they smoke outside, away from children.
Outdoor air pollution
Air pollution, which is typically at its worst in urban environments, describes a wide range of unnatural airborne particles which can be particularly irritating to the lungs of asthmatics. Ozone, commonly called smog, is directly related to asthma attacks. Increases in smog levels correlate to increased need for asthma drugs and emergency treatment. The airborne particles and dust found in abundance on city streets can worsen asthma, reduce lung function and cause asthma attacks. Dust masks can be effective in combating these particles and improve the quality of life for asthmatic children living in or visiting cities and large towns.
Pets and dander
Many asthmatic people find furry pets such as cats and dogs to be a trigger, worsening their symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the fur itself that asthmatic people are allergic to but rather the proteins found in animal skin (dander). For people with dander allergies, touching or inhaling these proteins can cause the immune system to overreact and worsen asthmatic symptoms but there are solutions to the problem that can mitigate the effects. Washing pets frequently and keeping them outside as much as possible can help reduce the allergic reaction they cause. Furthermore, air purifiers and keeping windows open to allow the flow of fresh air into the house can aid significantly.
Raising asthmatic children poses a number of challenges and to prevent negative impacts on long-term lung function, preventative steps must be taken. Chief among these are the removal of smoke sources from the home and maintaining a mold-free home environment. However, with the right care, asthmatic children can live full and active lives.
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Jennifer Trent is a freelance writer and editor. As a former nutrition consultant, her specialist areas include health and nutrition. When not working she loves to read, travel and spend time with her young family.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.