A combination of proactive steps, medicine, and technology can help keep your child’s asthma in check. Technology has made it easier to prevent asthma flare-ups and attacks, and is helping minimize the disease’s potentially debilitating grasp on an asthmatic. Below are some of the best investments you can make to help manage asthma.
Consider A Stand-alone Air Purifier
They are not all created equal depending on the size of the unit and the room where you place it. The right one for you depends on the kind of air quality issue you are trying to solve in your home. Here is a breakdown of the 5 different types of air purifiers, and one of them you should avoid.
- HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Filtration — HEPA filters are your best bet if you have allergy sufferers or asthmatics living in your home. A True HEPA filter will grab hold of pet dander, pollen, dust, and even mold. Filters will need to be changed. HEPA filters will not remove unpleasant odors. The HEPA label is sometimes thrown around loosely. You will come across products labeled HEPA-Like or HEPA Type. Look for products that say just say HEPA or True HEPA to make sure your air purifier meets the U.S. Department of Energy standards of removing at least 99.97 percent of fine particulate matter. Always look for an authentic HEPA product when buying a stand alone air purifier for a nursery or for an asthma sufferer’s room.
- Negative Ionization — Ionic air purifiers have positive attributes and potentially health-hazardous negatives. It uses negatively charged ions to electrify bits of pet dander, dust, and pollen. The negatively charged particles are then attracted to the air purifier’s positively charged core like a moth to a light bulb. These purifiers are usually quiet and can nicely blend in with your home decor. Ionic air purifiers will never live up to the strength of a HEPA air filter. The Environmental Protection Agency says the purifiers’ inside plates need to be kept clean in order to keep working efficiently. Some ionic purifiers suck in one pollutant and give off another—ozone. Ozone is a lung irritant. Some purifiers create it as a byproduct and others create it intentionally. The EPA recommends avoiding ozone-producing air purifiers.
- Ozone Air Purifiers — We just told you ozone is a lung irritant, so why are there ozone air purifiers? These purifiers are experts at removing odors and killing mold and mildew, but it should never be used in an occupied home. California banned them all together. Ozone air purifiers are most suitably used by cleaning professionals. They can be helpful in an empty house that suffered flood or sewage damage. Breathing in even low levels of ozone can be harmful to your health and can cause premature death. Any advertising that says an ozone generator helps allergy sufferers is false.
- Activated Carbon Filters — A carbon filter may be for you if you are constantly battling unpleasant smells in your home from your kids’ sports bags, the muddy dog, and your in-law’s choice of cooking spices. A carbon filter does the best job capturing the scents that make you cringe. Carbon air purifiers remove gases or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are up to ten times higher in your home. They are emitted from household products like cleaning items, cosmetics, paint, and disinfectants.
- UV (Ultra Violet) Lights — UV technology will usually be an added bonus to the air purifier of your choice. It uses light to attract and trap viruses, bacteria, and germs. You can have an HVAC professional install one on your system.
Test The Air You Breathe
Air quality monitors place all the information about your air in one, easy-to-read product. It takes away the guesswork of what’s really happening with your air in your home or your child’s school. Knowing what components of the air are bothering your child and how to change it empowers you to make healthy decisions to protect your family.
Advancements in air quality monitoring technology has lead to more affordable monitors that you can use around your home, in your car, and while you travel. They’re often cheaper and more effective than air purifiers. Sensors in air quality monitors are more reliable than the ones in air purifiers because they do not get clogged up. And, simply put, getting your air quality data from the same unit that cleans your air does not give you a clear picture of what’s going on across the room. An air quality monitor will also be more accurate than an app reading because they are taking real-time readings from your home.
Here are three things to consider when looking for an air quality monitor:
- Accuracy — It’s essential that the quality and calibration of the sensors within the monitor accurately track the pollution levels in your home. If the device isn’t able to provide reliable data, then you won’t know if the efforts you’re making to improve your air are working as intended.
- Connectivity — Being able to easily connect your device is an essential quality of a good air monitor. With a connected device, you’ll be able to sync your air monitor and purifier to turn on and off automatically based on the readings.
- Readability — Understanding your air should be straightforward and simple. If it’s not easy to understand the information that the monitor is providing, then you won’t be able to apply that knowledge to enhance your air.
Kaiterra’s Laser Egg+ Chemical monitors two aspects of the air: particulate matter and the total volatile organic compound (TVOCs). This small and stylish monitor is portable and syncs with your home’s WiFi, giving you instant access to air quality information through an exclusive app. You can monitor the air in your asthmatic child’s room while they sleep. The information can give you peace of mind when you are not with your child or baby. The display uses the AQI color code and numbers to quickly tell you if the air is unhealthy. The Laser Egg+ Chemical is compatible with Apple Homekit Technology.
You can sync your air monitor, purifier, and humidifier to turn on and off automatically based on the readings from the Laser Egg+ Chemical. Kaiterra products take an air quality reading every 0.1 seconds and results fall within +/- 10% of the readings from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
Use An App
Several apps connect you with real-time air pollutant levels in hundreds of cities - for free. Some apps will send you push alerts about the air quality index reading (AQI) in your city and forecast AQI for the day.
- EPA AirNow App — Get real-time air quality index (AQI) readings from 300 cities in the United States. The app (available for iPhone and Android) uses your location or a provided zip code to give you the ozone and PM2.5 readings for today and tomorrow. We found the app helpful, but it didn’t always have available data for some cities. AirNow also offers an RSS feed, email, or cell phone alerts.
- SAFAR-Air — The government of India created the first ever air quality forecasting system for metropolitan cities in the country. The ultimate objective of this project is to increase public awareness about air quality so that people can take precautions to protect themselves. SAFAR stands for System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research. The free app monitors air quality in four major cities and localities within each city. It is available in several languages.
- Kaiterra App — The Kaiterra app helps you understand what’s happening in the air around you, both indoors and out. With this free app, you can view outdoor air data from over 10,000 cities and monitoring stations in 65 countries. You also can switch between three different AQI standards (US, China, and India). If you own a Kaiterra air quality monitor, you can use the app to send push notifications to let you know when pollution levels in your home rise. When connected with IFTTT, it enables your smart home to automatically take specific actions that will help you improve your home air quality on polluted days. You can download the Kaiterra app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Asthma can’t be cured, but air pollution can be altered and reduced. Air is the one thing in this world that belongs to everyone. We all have a stake in it and a responsibility to care for it as much as possible. Education and proactive changes can help children with asthma live without the fear of their disease. Understanding air quality levels in your community is the first step to helping your child control their asthma. Educating adults and even your child’s peers about the condition helps give your child a chance to ward off the worst attacks or possible hospitalization.
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