5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for a Child with AsthmaDecember 16, 2019 6:06 pm
Australia has one of the highest prevalence of asthma in the world. Asthma is one of the leading causes of hospitalisation among children in the country, and an estimated 20% of children ages 0 to 15 have this condition. In many instances, children are diagnosed with asthma as infants.
Parents who have children with asthma, understandably, worry incessantly about how they can avoid asthma triggers and what to do in case of an asthma attack. Below, we share a few practical tips that can help parents turn their home into a safe space for children with asthma:
Be ready to keep track of asthma attacks. Asthma may have tell-tale signs, but this doesn’t mean that every person experiences an asthma attack the same way. It’s important to keep track of asthma triggers and signs, and the medicines used and steps done to manage the attack. This information will be handy when formulating an asthma action plan, which can then be distributed to teachers, child carers, and other people that the children interact with on a regular basis. Tracking the attacks using a notebook or file will also make it easier for parents to remember triggers, identify the signs of an asthma attack, and apply the necessary first aid treatment for asthma and anaphylaxis.
Stick to a cleaning schedule. Asthma triggers such as dust can easily accumulate inside the home. While it’s impossible to eliminate dust, the amount of dust particles can be significantly reduced by regular cleaning. Vacuum and dust every room in the home at least once a week, wash your bedding and curtains every few weeks, and reduce the use of carpets, rugs, and other surfaces that collect dust. In addition to dust, common asthma triggers include pollen, mould, smoke, and perfume.
Manage your pet. While having a pet comes with plenty of benefits, take note that pet dander, hair, or feather can also trigger asthma attacks. Pets, at the very least, should be kept out of the children’s bedroom. When playing, remind the children not to hug or kiss the pet, and that they should wash their hands after touching it. Also, brush the pet’s hair and clean its bed regularly to get rid of irritants that can trigger an episode.
Grow a low-pollen garden. The garden can also be a source of irritants, such as pollen and strong odours from the flowers. If possible, choose plants that are pollinated by birds and bees instead of plants that let the wind carry their pollen. Avoid planting fragrant flowering plants near the doors and windows of the home, and go with grass that produces no pollen and does not require a lot of mowing. The lawn can also be turned into a bricked or paved area to prevent the growth of grass or other types of plant that produce pollen.
Improve the air quality inside the home. Wood-burning stoves and un-flued gas heaters can release particulates and chemicals in the air that can irritate the airways, which is why it’s better to go with electric-powered heaters if one of the members of the family has asthma. Air ducts and the rest of the cooling system must be cleaned periodically. This not only helps reduce dust, it also ensures that the system is running smoothly and efficiently. Also, make sure that the inside of the home is not too humid, as excess moisture can encourage mould growth.
Consistency, proper knowledge, and timely response go a long way in preventing asthma attacks and abating its symptoms. Discuss these tasks with everyone, including what each has to do in the event of an asthma attack. This way, your family can immediately spring into action should an emergency arise.