Do Indoor Allergens Cause Childhood Asthma?
Do indoor allergens cause childhood asthma? Many worried parents ask this question after learning that their son or daughter has the condition. Unfortunately, there is no simple “yes” or “no” answer.
Doctors are increasingly convinced, however, that there is a connection between childhood asthma and indoor pet (and dust mite) allergens.
Facts about Childhood Asthma?
First of all, the rate of childhood asthma nationwide has mushroomed over the past 25 years. It has jumped more than 75% since 1990. Today, more than 17 million Americans have asthma, and three out of every four of them were diagnosed when they were youngsters.
In addition, asthma is a complex, complicated disease. That’s why doctors hesitate to say directly that indoor allergens cause childhood asthma. They now believe that allergens alone cannot create the problem. Just like the causes of indoor allergies, asthma seems to happen when a genetic tendency is combined with environmental triggers.
Finally, doctors have known for years that long exposure to indoor allergens will worsen symptoms in children already diagnosed with asthma. More recently they’ve learned that the risk of developing asthma jumps 500% for kids living around high levels of indoor contaminants.
In conclusion, parents can help protect their children if they learn about the indoor allergens that provoke asthma AND find ways to reduce the number of those allergens present in their home.
Facts about Indoor Allergens
What exactly are indoor allergens? They’re very small protein particles shed by pets, outdoor animals, dust mites, and other insects. Believe it or not, the creatures themselves are harmless. The real problem is “bio-residuals” found inside their fur, saliva, dander, feathers, urine, and solid waste. It’s these tiny bits of protein that actually provoke symptoms.
The 3 most common allergens are Der p1 (produced by dust mites), Fel d1 (produced by cats) and Can f1 (produced by dogs). Together these contaminants account for BILLIONS of indoor allergens present in every home, everyday, no matter how clean it is.
These indoor allergens float through the air, and quickly travel many yards from where they started. They can easily enter homes through open windows, doors, even air conditioning and heating systems. So susceptible children are at risk even if they live in a pet-free household.
Furthermore, because they’re sticky, indoor allergens cling to fabric surfaces — clothing, upholstery, bed linen, towels, carpets and drapes. From there, they get inhaled or absorbed through human skin pores. This helps explain the EPA warning: American homes are the most allergy-provoking places in the nation!
So DO Indoor Allergens Cause Childhood Asthma Symptoms?
Indoor allergens don’t cause childhood asthma in most kids. But in children with asthma (and those susceptible to asthma) they are mistaken for dangerous environmental invaders. Their immune systems rush antibodies to nose, eyes, lungs, and surface skin. These antibodies bind to the allergens, trying to destroy them. It’s the binding process that actually causes symptoms like wheezing, upper respiratory congestion, shortness of breathe, and allergy headaches.
So, at the very least, indoor allergens provoke cause childhood asthma symptoms in vulnerable youngsters.
What Can Parents Do?
For starters, be realistic. You can never eliminate all indoor allergens. Even the most thorough cleaning will not get rid of them completely. Plus, as soon as you’re done cleaning, new allergens will start building up all over again.
Instead, try to reduce the number of protein allergens present in your home. That should protect the children you love. Because even sensitive people can handle some indoor allergens. Symptoms start when the body must battle A LOT of them. Here are just a few pointers…
- Treat your home regularly with a product that can safely destroy indoor allergens.
- When you choose one, avoid toxic pesticides. After all, children predisposed to asthma already have a hyper-sensitive immune system. Exposure to harsh chemicals will probably just trigger symptoms, not prevent them.
- Consider using the Easy Air Organic Allergy Relief Combo Pack, a powerful but natural alternative to pesticides. The Organic Allergy Relief Spray and Organic Allergy Relief Laundry Rinse deconstruct indoor allergens. Both formulas are safe to use around children and family pets. They cannot cure asthma, but they will temporarily make life safer and more comfortable for children already living with symptoms.