Unexplained Sickness: Not in Your Child’s Head, It’s in the Air

It’s easy to think our children are being overdramatic with every sneeze and sniffle. We often assume they are simply getting used to the changing of seasons or trying to get out of a big test at school. However, when allergy, respiratory, or other conditions don’t seem to go away, it’s time to take charge and get to the bottom of what’s making them sick. Sometimes, the answer is as clear as the air all around you.

Your House Isn’t Healthy

You can clean until you drop from exhaustion, but if your home has ventilation issues, pet dander, or mold, no amount of rubbing and scrubbing will help. The air inside your home has a significant impact on your child’s health. Mold, for example, is a common irritant found at dangerous levels in up to 43 million American buildings, according to Realtime Lab. Breathing in mold can trigger asthma, lung irritation, a runny nose, and skin rash.

The American Lung Association explains that mold is found everywhere, but it can only grow in areas with adequate moisture. Dampness caused by improper ventilation can cause mold to expand throughout the home, including into the HVAC air ducts, where it is then kicked up each time the system turns on. Windows are often the culprit for letting in moist air that breeds mold, especially those that are improperly sealed; moisture builds up in the cracks between the frame and wall, a perfect habitat for mold. If you notice any mold on or smell a musty odor near your windows, enter “storm window repair near me” into Google to look for a licensed, insured contractor with good customer ratings.

In addition to mold, children can be affected by pollen, dust, and other allergens that have collected in your home’s furnace during the summer. If you’re unsure about the cleanliness of your home’s air, consider having an indoor air quality test done. If mold is causing your child's issues, mitigation might be in order.

Clearing the Air

Once you have identified the problem, whether it’s pet dander, mold, or something else, it’s time to take steps to eliminate issues that can affect your child’s health. Start by creating a cleaning schedule that includes regular vacuuming and dusting — bonus points if you can get your kids involved! This should be followed up by replacing your home’s air conditioner and furnace filters before they get full of contaminants. American Home Shield notes that a dirty air filter can be a haven for mold and stresses the importance of changing these out on a regular basis.

Moisture may be controlled by examining your home for sources of water and fixing any leaks you discover. Your bathroom and kitchen should be outfitted with exhaust fans that direct moist air to the outside of the home. Gutters should be cleaned and downspouts checked for a clear flow. Water trapped in the gutters can overflow onto your home’s roof and cause not only mold but major structural damage as well. An air purifier may be installed in your child’s bedroom to help them breathe easier through the night.

Pets and Plants

If you find that you are allergic to your pet, you don’t necessarily have to find them a new home. When dander is the issue, removing the carpet, cleaning your ducts, and keeping your dog or cat out of the bedroom and off the sofa can limit your exposure to allergens. It is important to note, however, that severe allergic reactions caused by saliva may warrant finding Fido new living accommodations. Plants are another potential allergen trigger that professionals from Harvard Health Publishing asserts are best left outdoors in homes of people with mold allergies.

Untamed allergies can turn into chronic health problems, especially for children, whose lungs are already vulnerable. If you suspect air quality may be to blame for your child’s chronic condition, have it checked and then take steps to keep the air clear. Through regular cleaning, air purification, pet containment, mold mitigation, and rectifying any issues that encourage moisture, you give your child an opportunity to breathe easy. Also, remember to talk to your child’s pediatrician to rule out any underlying issues that may be causing them distress.

 Image via Pixabay

Guest Author - Josh Moore

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