If you are expecting a little bundle of joy in your family, it's a good idea to improve your home's HVAC systems. According to statistics 20% of babies develop infantile eczema and, out of those babies, as many as 70% go on to develop asthma later in life. Since the American Lung Association says there's a connection between asthma and indoor air quality, improving your home's HVAC systems is important to reduce your baby's risks of developing asthma. Here's what you need to know about your baby's risks and how to improve your home's indoor air quality.
Infantile eczema & progression to asthma
Infantile eczema is an itchy rash that happens when dry skin is irritated by a substance or allergen. It typically occurs on baby's cheeks and in skin creases, such as behind the knees and inside the elbows. Infantile eczema often worsens in the winter months when the indoor air is dry due to being heated, but it can also occur in the summer months when air conditioning systems also act as dehumidifiers.
Infantile eczema can damage the skin and lead to infection. The damage that happens to the skin when there is a flare up of infantile eczema causes thymic stromal lymphopoietin to be secreted into the body. This substance circulates through the body and is what is believed to trigger asthma when allergens are introduced, such as dust and mold within the home's HVAC systems. This process is called the atopic march.
There are no cures for infantile eczema or asthma; however, there are treatments available that can help. The most important things to do are to prevent skin damage so thymic stromal lymphopoietin is not secreted and to reduce the amount of allergens the baby is exposed to.
Temperatures & humidity levels in the home
Since dry skin can lead to infantile eczema, it's important to keep your home's temperatures and humidity at comfortable levels. Temperatures that are too high and humidity levels that are too low can irritate and dry tender skin. Conversely, high humidity can increase sweating, which can cause your baby to have prickly heat symptoms.
Ask your HVAC technician to retrofit your home's heating and air conditioning systems with a humidity monitor and control unit. Before you take your baby home from the hospital, ask your baby's pediatrician what the appropriate temperature and humidity levels should be in your home for your region to reduce your baby's risks of developing infantile eczema.
Helpful tip: You'll also want to apply moisturizer to your baby's skin after each bath. This will help trap in the moisture the skin needs to stay hydrated.
Allergens in your home's HVAC systems
While your HVAC technician is retrofitting your home's HVAC system, ask him or her to inspect your systems for dust, dust mites, mold and other allergens. These types of allergens are common complaints that lower the air quality of homes. If it's been awhile since your home's heating and air conditioning ducts have been cleaned and serviced, it's a good idea to have these tasks done prior to bringing baby home.
After the potentially offending allergens have been removed from your ducts, heating and air conditioning systems, continue maintaining the cleanliness of these systems regularly. Schedule routine maintenance with your HVAC technician based on your region and the type of HVAC systems you have. You'll want to have these maintenance and cleaning tasks performed throughout your baby's childhood and adolescence, especially if your baby does develop infantile eczema.
Fortunately, regular maintenance and cleaning of the systems can help reduce the risks of system break-downs, which can also be problematic for baby and the entire family. Visit a site like http://carriercooling.com/ for more info on HVAC repair.