Childhood asthma

Asthma is the leading cause of long-term illness in children. It affects about 7 million kids in the United States. The condition is a leading cause of emergency department visits, hospitalizations and missed school days.

In childhood asthma, the lungs and airways get inflamed when exposed to triggers such as being exposed to the cold virus, pollen, or any respiratory infection. It may not be curable, but it can be managed and further damage to the growing lungs can be prevented.

Common triggers of Childhood Asthma:

Asthma triggers can be different for every person, some common triggers are:

  • Dust mites: If your child has asthma and is allergic to dust mites, it may trigger an attack.
  • Outdoor Air pollution: Outdoor air pollution can come from vehicles, factories, wildfire smoke (PM2.5)
  • Pests: Cockroaches and other pests may also be a cause for asthma.
  • Pets: Furry pets can trigger an asthma attack if your child is allergic to them
  • Mold: Breathing in mold can cause an asthma attack whether one is allergic or not.
  • Cleaning and Disinfection: Some of the cleaning disinfectants contain chemicals which the child might be allergic to.
  • Tobacco smoke: Second-hand tobacco smoke can be a trigger to asthma.
  • Exercise: Exercise can lead to wheezing, coughing and a tight chest
  • Stress: Stress can make a child short of breath and worsen the symptoms.
  • Other Allergens: Cold, sinus infections, pollen, acid reflux, influenza, respiratory infections, and breathing in cold dry air can also trigger an asthma attack.
  • Hot and humid temperatures and trigger an asthmatic episode.
  • Nitrogen Dioxides: emitted from burning of fuel. It emanates from car, truck and bus emissions, power plants, cooking, and off-road equipment. They are known to irritate the airways and aggravate asthma.
  • Seasonal Allergens: Allergens like pollen are high in few months and are a trigger for asthmatic attacks. 

 Complications of Childhood Asthma:

If Asthma is not managed, it can lead to many complications like severe attacks leading to ER visits, missed school, fatigue, delay in growth, stress, anxiety and depression, permanent damage to lungs or even death.

Tips to manage Childhood Asthma:

  • Clean bedding and carpets to avoid dust mites.
  • Check AQI reports to know the outdoor air pollution and avoid going out during high pollution days
  • Stay indoors if you are living around areas which had a wildfire.
  • Do not allow pets in your child’s room
  • Mandate pest control check on a regular basis.
  • Leaks need to be fixed and use dehumidifiers to avoid mold.
  • Avoid scented candles and cleaning disinfectants
  • Do not allow anyone to smoke inside the house
  • If exercise is a trigger, follow the instructions of the doctor on the duration of exercise and use of the inhaler.
  • Keep your child’s weight under control
  • Ensure, your child gets a flu shot every year.
  • Keep windows closed during high pollen and mold seasons.
  • Use a powerful air purifier to reduce asthma symptoms – The CDC recommends use of a HEPA air filter to manage asthma. The Airpura I600 is specially designed to combat allergens and help children and adults with asthma to breathe better. Tests have proved that Airpura I600 was able to reduce the PM2.5 levels to zero count in 20 seconds.

School management of asthma in children and safety from Covid-19

The CDC has advised people with moderate-to-severe or uncontrolled asthma to take more precautions (Face masks, ventilation, social distancing and use of HEPA filters) as they are more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19.

Asthma has accounted for more than 13.8 million lost school days each year; it is the main illness-related reason that students miss school.

Asthma management in schools requires a comprehensive approach that includes improving indoor air quality to protect the children from many allergens that can flare up an asthma attack and improving a student's access to asthma medicine throughout the school day.

Can Air purifiers help asthma?

1. A study was conducted by a group of scientists in South Korea on 30 children who were asthmatic. They were split into 2 groups; one group used an air purifier that were turned on and another group used an air purifier that was turned off (Control group to reduce placebo effect) . This study showed that the group that used air purifiers that were turned on had reduced PM2.5 levels in the room, thus minimizing the symptoms that the children experienced and requiring them to use less asthma medication.

2. A new study was conducted by the American and Chinese researchers in Shanghai, China. They gave 43 children with mild to moderate asthma two air purifiers to use in their bedrooms. One group was given a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) purifier capable of removing PM2.5; the other group was given an air purifier with no filtration capacity. Each air purifier was used for two weeks by each group. Neither the children nor their families knew which air purifier was which. After two weeks, the children in the group with the HEPA air purifier had significant reductions in PM2.5 levels in the room (33%-66% less than the control group) resulting in their improved breathing capacity and less lung inflammation than the other group.