Posts Tagged ‘dust mites’

Inhale, exhale … inhale, exhale …Asthma is more common than you might think! According to KidsHealth.org, “As many as 9 million kids in the United States have it. Asthma affects about 1 or 2 kids out of 10. That means if you have 20 kids in your class, 2-4 of them might have asthma. Asthma can start at any age — even in a little baby or an adult — but it’s most common in school-age kids.”

Asthma is a condition that affects a person’s airways. These tubes lead from the windpipe into the lungs. But for kids with asthma, breathing can be a lot more difficult because their airways are very sensitive. An asthma attack or episode happens when a person’s airways get swollen and narrower and it becomes a lot harder for air to get in and out of the lungs.

In between flare-ups, a kid’s breathing can be totally normal or seem that way. But during a flare-up, it can feel like the person is breathing through a straw. A kid with asthma may wheeze (a whistling sound when he or she breathes), cough, and feel tightness in the chest.

According to Michael Welch, M.D., clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California, “In the past, doctors were reluctant to make the diagnosis before age 5 or 6. Now, it’s more common for doctors to diagnose a preschooler, a toddler, or even a baby with asthma.”

Why do kids get asthma?
There are a lot of reasons or triggers. Some kids are sensitive to allergens (ug! What I have!). Common allergens for kids with asthma include dust mites (tiny bugs that live in dust), mold (if you’ve ever been in a damp basement and smelled something funny, it was probably mold), and pollen (from trees, grass, and weeds).

Kids who have asthma should try to avoid things that can cause their airways to tighten. But some triggers — like cats, colds, and chalk dust — can’t always be avoided. That’s why kids who are sensitive to those things must manage their asthma by taking medication.


4 Ways to Prevent Asthma at Home with your Kids:

1.  Limit dust exposure. Babies and toddler spend much of their day in their rooms, so removing dust from these common areas is a great place to start. Here’s how to cut down on the dust in your child’s room. 

  • Remove carpets and heavy drapes or try to vacuum them frequently to sweep up dust!
  • Wash all bedding and stuffed animals frequently in hot water
  • Purchase allergen-barrier coverings for the pillows and mattresses

2.  Protect your child from tobacco smoke. This is a significant asthma trigger. Some people think that smoking in a different room or outside is safe enough, but tobacco smoke gets into your hair and clothes, and your child then inhales it.

3.  Reduce or eliminate the pet factor. Many kids are allergic to pet dander. It’s best not to keep a pet at home if it triggers your child’s reactions. If that’s not possible, at least keep the cat or dog out of your child’s room.

4.  Kill those roaches. Living in New York, even the cleanest homes can have problems with cockroaches. This is a common allergen for urban children with asthma, and parents should do all they can to eliminate cockroaches from their homes.


Read Full Post »

Before you panic, it’s important to remember that many germs—millions of them, in fact—are essential for our survival. BUT, during the cold and flu season, I wanted to give you some tips on where germs hide.

Quick Spots to Watch for Germ Hideouts:

  • Steering wheels of children coin-operated rides
  • Shopping cart handles
  • Vending machine slots
  • Bath toys
  • Baby walkers
  • Telephone handset
  • Computer keyboards
  • Television remote control
  • Carpeting, especially wall-to-wall
  • Door handles and door bells
  • Cell phones


  1. DIAPER CHANGES: Make sure to wash your hands with soap and water after each and every diaper change.
  2. DOORKNOBS: Infection-causing germs can linger on doorknobs, especially during cold and flu season. Remember to clean them daily or whenever visitors stop by to visit your baby.
  3. STUFFED ANIMALS: Dust mites love to hide inside stuffed animals and other plush toys.  Wash Teddy and his soft friends weekly on a gentle cycle-especially during the winter season. Or if Teddy can stand a little more winter cold, put the stuffed pal in the freezer once a week to kill the mites.
  4. TAKE OUT THE TRASH: Protect the air quality in a baby’s room all winter long by taking out the trash frequently, using a tightly covered diaper pail, keeping pets out of the nursery, and, if possible, choose hardwood floors over dust-and-odor harboring carpets.


  1. FLUSHING: According to BabyZone.com, “”Flushing the toilet with the lid up can send drops of aerosolized [fecal] matter onto toothbrushes, combs and brushes, as well as faucets, sinks and counters.” You can keep germs at bay by sanitizing toilet lids, bowls and seats weekly with a germicidal cleanser.” Wear gloves to protect your hands from water or surface contact, and always use a rinse-able brush or disposable cloth (never a sponge).
  2. LAVO LOS MANOS: It’s recommended that when you wash your hands — with soap and warm water — that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. That’s about the same time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice! According to Parents.com, “Nearly 22 million school days are missed each year because of the common cold. Teach your family to frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds (sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice), especially when one of you is ill.  This will help prevent spreading sneeze and cough droplets through contact.”

Living Room:

  1. SHOES: Your winter boots protect your feet, but they don’t protect your home from the germs they track inside, so put your boots somewhere they can dry off.
  2. TOYS: Usually, a nontoxic cleanser like soap and water or hydrogen peroxide does the trick. Cold viruses can live for days or even weeks on plastic, vinyl, or metal surfaces such as toy cars (and many germs that cause diarrhea can survive on dry surfaces for months!).  Clean toys regularly in the dishwasher or with dish washing soap and warm water, rinsing thoroughly—especially if a sick friend comes for a play date.

The most germ-infested spot you (and your kids) touch every day is not at the playground or in your bathroom, but on the average kitchen table.

  1. SPONGES: Kitchen sponges are the top source of germs in your whole house, and nobody wins when you “clean” counters and dishes with a dirty sponge.  Zap a damp sponge in the microwave for two minutes, or run it through the dishwasher to clear out the germs before you wipe down surfaces.
  2. GLASSWARE: Remember that cold and flu are most easily transmitted through contact with germs on the rims of drinking glasses. Avoid accidently sharing glasses at home this winter.
  3. RING-A-DING: According to Parents.com, “Telephones can carry upwards of 25,000 microbes per square inch.  If you’re chatting while cooking, get into the routine of wiping down the phone along with the counters and sink every night.”


  1. CUTTING NAILS: We all do it – cut our nails in our bedroom, don’t deny it! Did you know shorter fingernails harbor fewer germs than long nails, and unpolished nails stay cleaner than manicures?  Stick with short, unpolished nails during flu season (if you can).



Read Full Post »