Childhood asthma is a common issue, affecting as many as 1 in 12 children overall and as many as 16% of black children in the United States, and it can have a significant impact on quality of life. In addition to asthma attacks, many have difficulty participating in ordinary play, miss school due to symptoms, and are especially prone to recurrent infections. Medication can reduce symptoms, but often it’s not enough.
If you’re looking for ways to supplement your child’s current asthma management plan, one of the simplest and most effective things you can do is to place an air filter in their room – but you have to choose the right type. Specifically, you need a filter that removes the smallest particulates, including dust, mold, and pollen, to reduce lung irritation and minimize your child’s symptoms.
The air filter market is extensive, which can make choosing the right type difficult. One thing to look for, though, is a HEPA filter. In some cases, these are built directly into a home’s HVAC system, but if your home doesn’t have a central HVAC system, you can also get a portable air filter to place in your child’s room. The only problem with these portable systems is that most have insufficiently high flow rates to maximize particle remover. You can supplement this by using a HEPA vacuum to regularly clean your home.
The Ozone Option
Many parents, committed to resolving their children’s asthma symptoms, seek out the newest, most high-tech sounding options in hopes that such tools will solve the problem for good. It’s an understandable impulse, and one that can lead to dangerous solutions. For example, some parents have been lured in by ozone air purifiers, which can make asthma worse. That’s because ozone is actually dangerous to the lungs, and can cause throat irritation, shortness of breath, and further increase the risk of respiratory infections – all the things that you’re trying to prevent. Stick with conventional HEPA filters for the best results.
Why The Bedroom?
If you’re using a central HVAC system to filter your home’s air, then you’re getting optimal filtration, as long as you’re regularly changing your filters. Why, then, the emphasis on placing the air filter in your child’s bedroom? Clinical trials emphasized bedroom use, and placing the filter there ensures that your child is exposed to optimal air quality during the night, the longest time that they’re typically in one place, other than during the school day. In trials, children with bedroom air filters showed significantly reduced airway resistance, as well as less lung inflammation.
Using an air filter can substantially minimize your child’s asthma, but that’s not the only good news. As a short-term solution, an air filter can help minimize your child’s symptoms until they get older and begin to outgrow them. Though asthma is a lifelong condition, most people do see a significant decrease in symptoms as they get older. Severe symptoms after age five or a history of eczema may predict persistent, severe symptoms, but otherwise, overall lung volume expansion and decreased reaction to allergens can result in your child experiencing much more mild asthma as they get older.
No one wants to see their child suffer, and watching your child experience an asthma attack can be terrifying. Using an air filter can decrease the frequency and severity of such attacks, though, stabilizing their health so they can focus on being a kid.