According to the World Health Organization, more than 90% of children across the world are exposed to air pollution, either indoor or outdoor, that can damage their health. Small children are more susceptible to health effects because their lungs are still developing, and they breathe in more air compared to their body weight.
Prolonged exposure to air pollution causes damage to lung function, aggravated asthma symptoms, irregular heartbeat, and several respiratory disorders, including difficulty breathing and airway irritation. Even polluted air adversely affects the nervous system and can negatively impact motor and mental development.
Children encounter outdoor air pollution in a variety of settings, including outdoor activities and sports. The exposure during severe air quality events – such as heavy smog or wildfire smoke – trigger allergy symptoms, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. The outdoor air pollution further contributes to degrading the indoor air quality. For instance, students who attend a school or live in areas with high traffic pollution experience respiratory issues like wheezing, coughing, and other allergy symptoms as compared to children who have schools or homes in less-traffic areas. Besides, pollutant particles such as bacteria, mold, and VOCs are already present in most buildings.
One of the best ways to protect children from air pollution is to monitor AQI levels – the Air Quality Index (AQI) helps to determine changes in air quality. Besides, parents should follow outdoor physical activity guidelines to ensure their children are safe from prolonged exposure. Physical activity increases the air intake by 10 to 20 times, which results in elevating airborne pollutants entering their bodies.
Consider following the mentioned precautions, especially on days when air quality is worse:
- Connect with your child’s doctor for daily asthma management or to create an asthma immediate action plan.
- Invest in a living air purifier to re-circulate and clean the indoor air. Keep the doors and windows shut to keep from outdoor air from entering the home. A quality living air purification system also eliminates the airborne pollutants from the room.
- Keep the sources of indoor air pollution down, such as cigarette smoke, smoke from burning candles and wood, frying or broiling meat, and spraying aerosols.
- Wear respirator masks; however, they are not recommended for toddlers because incorrectly fitted masks impact a child’s ability to breathe.
- While cleaning up ash and debris after a wildfire, avoid reintroducing them into the air. For instance, use vacuum cleaners with HEPA filter to clean carpets.
The best thing you can do to protect your children as well as yourself from air pollution is to stay informed about your area’s air quality conditions.
If you’re interested in investing in a quality living air purifier, explore your options at Alpine Air Products.