Thursday, April 05, 2012

Children, asthma and indoor air pollution

A growing number of children suffer from asthma.
They don’t call it an asthma epidemic for nothing – a growing number of children suffer from the chronic diseases characterized by inflammation of the airways and breathing problems.

Asthma accounts for one-third of all hospital stays and more than a half-million ER visits a year for kids younger than 15.

Children may be severely affected by asthma: Coughing may keep them up at night and they may be less active because they fear coughing fits from running.

According to health experts, African-American children and children of Puerto Rican descent are much more likely to develop asthma than white children.

Often, asthma can get worse or aggravated if the indoor air in the children’s homes is polluted.

Improving the indoor air quality is a major step in helping everyone breathe easier and in lowering the risk for asthma attacks in children.

According to Gary Emmett, M.D., there are easy and often surprising ways people can improve their indoor air quality:

  • Never allow smoking in the home. Tobacco smoke is one of the worst offenders when it comes to indoor air pollution and it is one of the main substances that aggravate asthma in children.
  • Reduce exposure to thirdhand smoke. This means that smokers should change clothes before they come indoors, as the smoke particles tend to cling to textiles, hair and even the skin of a smoker, which can make asthma worse.
  • Use plastic covers on the mattress and pillow in the child’s bedroom.
  • Clean the child’s bedroom daily with a wet cloth or wipes to control particles in the room.
  • Avoid clutter in the child’s room. Clear surfaces are easier to keep clean. Objects that cannot be washed frequently should be stored in the closet (including stuffed animals and throw pillows).
  • Ban pets from the child’s bedroom, including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, ferrets and mice. Pet dander has been shown to be a potent asthma trigger.
  • Avoid using perfumes and other scented products, including fragrant personal care products and harsh cleaning agents, since they can also aggravate asthma symptoms.

Source: Philadelphia Media Network

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purifiers are great for particle
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In addition to keeping things clean and banning certain products in the home, an air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA can help keep the air clean and easy to breathe.

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Air purifiers for asthma and allergies need a medical-grade HEPA to remove 99.97% of particles at 0.3 microns in size as well as a deep-bed activated carbon filter with at least 15 pounds of carbon (the more, the better) to remove odors, chemicals, gases and VOCs.

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