Raising asthmatic kids is hard enough, but when you factor in a pandemic that attacks the respiratory system, it becomes an incredibly daunting and stressful task. Thankfully, shelter-in-place orders are still implemented in many states, and as parents, we only need to make sure that our homes are a safe place for our children to spend the majority of their days in. Here are some pointers to make your home asthma-safe for your kids who are learning from home.
Eliminate all kinds of triggers.
Here are the kinds of triggers you need to eliminate to keep your child’s asthma from flaring up:
- Pollen, which is fine dust from plants
- Mold, a living organism that lives and thrives in moist areas
- Dust mites, which are micro-insects that live in dust bunnies
- Smoke (secondhand smoke from tobacco, cooking smoke, wood smoke, and others)
- Aerosol sprays
- Paint or gas smells
- Pet dander
While these triggers won’t harm most people, asthmatics are vulnerable because these triggers cause them to wheeze, cough, and have trouble breathing. Triggers are not the cause of asthma, but they can aggravate it and cause flare-ups. Here are some key tasks you need to do to make sure these triggers are eliminated:
- Clean and maintain your HVAC system. Make sure you use high-quality filters because they can remove contaminated particles as small as 0/3 in diameter. Keep the outdoor and indoor units clean at all times.
- Pay special attention to the rugs, couch, pillows, and other areas that are more likely to collect dust.
- To get rid of mold, run a dehumidifier to dry out the damp areas in your house. Do this in the basement and near the bathrooms.
- Run the air-conditioner as it can help filter out the air in your home.
Inspect their rooms for dust and damage.
When was the last time you checked every area of your child’s room to ensure that there’s no mold or other triggers in there? Their rooms are the first place you should do some regular cleaning and dehumidifying because a spotless room can help keep your kid’s asthma in check. Consider this checklist when maintaining their rooms:
- Vacuum the floors with a HEPA filter
- Encase your kid’s box spring and mattress in allergy-proof covers
- Wash their covers, pillowcases, and blankets using hot water to keep dust mites at bay
Since your kids spend most of their time at home, where they have to do all their learning and playing, consider making some upgrades in their bedroom. Watch out for any stains on the walls and if you do, consider hiring professionals to take care of it. Be on the lookout for hairline cracks, the presence of which might signal a weakness in the room’s structural integrity. If you’re going to have your kids’ room soft-renovated, make sure that the concrete is sealed to ensure that it’s protected from mold and mildew.
How about pets?
If your asthmatic kid is adamant about having a pet, here are some key points to consider:
- Some pets carry allergens, which are known to make asthma worse. Some of these include the pets’ saliva, urine, and animal dander like the pet’s dandruff and skin flakes.
- If you must have a family pet, set some ground rules for your kid. Ensure that the pet doesn’t sleep in your child’s bedroom, that your child avoids kissing and hugging the pet, and that they wash their hands immediately after petting or touching the pet. It may sound sad, but it’s an opportunity for your asthmatic kids to learn the value of boundaries and why they need to abide by them to keep themselves healthy.
- If it’s at all possible, persuade your child to postpone having a pet for now. Studies show that childhood asthma can go away, and they will have plenty of time in the future to take care of a pet when they’re healthier.
Stick to a cleaning schedule.
The bitter truth about living with asthma or living with someone who has it is that our home needs to be cleaned and maintained regularly to keep the triggers at bay. Do a regular dust-up every week; do some deep-cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting once a month. Hire a professional cleaning service every six months, too. It may sound like overkill, but the health of our kids is always worth the extra effort.
Living with COVID-19
Going through a pandemic while your kid has asthma or any other chronic illnesses can be incredibly stressful. While there are things beyond our control, there are plenty of other aspects that we can do something about, and that’s the state of our homes. So take a deep breath and grab a dustpan. You and your kids are worth it.