Nurturing Your Children
There are so many things to worry about when it comes to the well being of my children. Car seats and automobile safety, providing a well-balanced diet, and nurturing social-emotional-mental growth are some of the big categories that we focus on as parents.
Another area that gets a big chunk of attention when it comes to taking care of my kids is disease prevention. For instance, I am a stickler about having my kids up-to-date with all of their immunizations.
I also carry hand sanitizer in my purse, in the diaper bag, in the glove compartment of both cars…you get the picture. I’d rather take my kids with me to hair and nail appointments and other destinations, than leave them in a babysitting environment where someone has the slightest hint of a runny nose or cough.
To me it’s worth it even if it is super awkward. Some people think I am a bit over-protective or even a little insane. But the real reason behind the paranoid behavior is that my kids have reactive airway disease.
Reactive airway disease is basically asthma in a baby or young child. Living with asthma is far from desirable. It can seriously impact your life in many ways. It can dictate where you can go, what kinds of activities you can do and how you do them, what you can eat, and many other things.
Stepping outside of these parameters can be a disaster waiting to happen. Having moderate to severe asthma can mean that you must always be prepared to prevent and treat an attack at any moment, no matter where you are or when it happens. Inhalers and other medications must not only be in the medicine cabinet, but with you wherever you go.
Asthma in any young child, especially an infant, can be very dangerous. When a person has an asthma attack the walls of their airways start to swell and close off, making it very difficult and sometimes impossible to get enough oxygen into the body. Excess secretion of mucous further complicates this problem.
In babies and young children this can be even more of a danger because their airways are already very small, and any constriction of the airways usually has proportionally more impact than with older children and adults.
Thank goodness there are medications to counteract the acute symptoms of an asthma attack. However, as anyone who has asthma – or any parent of an asthmatic child – can attest, it is far better to prevent asthma attacks than to treat them once they occur, if at all possible.
Easing Asthma Symptoms
Preventing asthma attacks can be easier said than done sometimes, though. Asthma attacks can be triggered by many things, including:
- Emotional and mental stress
- Physical exertion
- Respiratory infections from viruses or bacteria
- Second-hand smoke
- Pet dander
- Air pollution
- Certain foods
- Dust, mold, or small particles
- Sudden changes in temperature or exposure to cold air.
Every person with asthma has his or her own set of stimuli that can trigger an asthma attack. My kids can react to respiratory infections, second hand smoke, and dust. On the other hand, they have never had a respiratory reaction to pet dander or food.
In order to avoid asthma attacks my husband and I are conscientious about minimizing contact with germs. (Hence the freakish behavior mentioned earlier.) Neither of us smokes, and we avoid public places that are not smoke free.
We use HEPA filters on our vacuum cleaners and use the vacuum frequently to help minimize the amount of dust that floats around inside of our house.
The other major thing that we do to keep our kids healthy and free of asthma attacks is to run air purifiers in our home. Many families with asthmatic individuals or seasonal allergies find that using an air purifier brings substantial relief from the frequency and severity of asthma attacks and allergy symptoms.
Having an air purifier in the nursery is especially important because of the heightened danger that asthma attacks can pose for an infant. We have a few air purifiers in our home. We use a couple in the main gathering areas of our house, like the dining room and family room. We also use them in the baby’s nursery and the bedroom of our 2 year old.
If you choose the right air purifier, you can effectively remove indoor air pollutants including
- plant pollens
- pet dander
- bacteria and other germs
- cigarette smoke.
It sounds counterintuitive, but the air inside of the home can actually be dirtier than the air outside of your home. Trapped moisture can lead to the accumulation of mold and spores.
Pets generate dander that can be an airway irritant. Bacteria and other germs are trapped inside the walls of your home. Pollens and other allergens enter the home through open windows and doorways.
Once these irritants are introduced into the home, air conditioning and heating systems that involve forced air can circulate these pollutants thoroughly throughout the home. This is why it can be very beneficial to have an effective air purifier in the home.
Here’s a special note about cigarette smoke: Although it may be able to filter cigarette smoke, an air purifier is not a substitute for quitting smoking. An air purifier may not be able to remove 100% of the cigarette smoke that passes through it. Also, an air purifier cannot remove smoke that has not passed through it yet.
That means that before the smoke passes through the purifier, it has plenty of opportunity to come in contact with your child’s airways and trigger an asthma attack.
When cigarette smoke is present, it is bound to be at a much higher concentration than pet dander, mold, or germs that target the airways, so it can be a very powerful trigger of asthma attacks. It is far more effective to eliminate cigarette smoke by not smoking than it is to eliminate it after the fact using an air purifier.
Before you buy an air purifier, make sure that it actually filters everything that you need it to filter. It may be helpful to see what brands and models have been effective for other families. Sometimes doctors or online forums will be helpful in recommending an effective air purifier, as well as giving other useful tips that help to minimize asthma symptoms.
Lauren Hill loves writing, it has been her passion her whole life. You can read more that Lauren wrote at her website www.laurenqhill.com.