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Stressed Parents + Air Pollution = Kids with Asthma

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In a study, researchers at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California discovered a startling and surprising link between parental stress, air pollution – and asthma rates in children. The study involved 2,497 Los Angeles-area children and monitored their health for a period of three years and highlights the rising concerns that parents, doctors and researchers alike have regarding air pollution and how it affects children. More than six million children in the United States have asthma, making it a genuine health issue and one that parents are eager to prevent as much as possible.

Details about the Study

The study took a close look at the selected group of children, paying particular attention to parental stress levels and the air pollution of the area in which they lived. In terms of parental stress, this was gauged based on interviews with the parents; those who cited unmanageable, unpredictable and chaotic lives were deemed to be more stressed than those who seemed to have a better handle on things. Air pollution rates were based on traffic air pollution in the local area; things like whether or not the mother smoked during her pregnancy were also taken into consideration.

Researchers were surprised to discover that stressed out parents alone did not seem to trigger increased rates of asthma in their children. Instead, the particular combination of air pollution and elevated parental stress levels seem to create a “perfect storm” that dramatically increases the likelihood of asthma in children. Even air pollution alone did not elevate the risk nearly as much as that pollution in combination with high stress parents did. The people who conducted the study are still unsure why this combination is so amenable to asthma, but feel that stressed out parents equal stressed out children – and stress can cause increased inflammation in the respiratory system, promoting conditions like asthma.

What the Study Means for Parents

There’s no question that having high stress parents causes problems for children; watching as parents struggle to cope with the daily demands of life can create serious problems in children. A lot of the stress exhibited by those parents is transferred onto their children, who then grapple with increased health problems due to high stress. When air pollution is added into the mix, asthma becomes a more common occurrence. Children who live in urban areas with high levels of air pollution are twenty-two to forty-five percent more likely to have asthma than those who live in areas with cleaner air.

For parents, this study raises a few very important points. Firstly, keeping stress levels low can not only make a household more pleasant for children to live in, but it can help protect their mental and physical health. Secondly, keeping those levels of stress manageable can help ward off asthma, especially for families that live in big cities that have a lot of air pollution. Thirdly, providing the cleanest air possible for your child to breathe can give them a better chance at avoiding asthma and other chronic respiratory conditions. While there is nothing to be done about air pollution in a large city, there’s a lot to be done about indoor air quality at home.

Improve Indoor Air Quality, Reduce the Incidence of Asthma

As noted above, air pollution or elevated parental stress alone do not necessarily cause a dramatic increase in rates of asthma; when combined, though, there’s an obvious and compelling rise in the incidence of asthma in kids. By keeping the indoor air quality in the home as pure as possible, then, parents can help ward off this troubling combination. In addition to keeping the home as clean, swept, vacuumed and dusted as possible, conscientious parents should invest in high quality HEPA air purifiers to make the air inside the home as free of airborne pollutants as possible.

Using an air purifier that features HEPA technology means that 99.97% of all airborne pollutants, including dust mite allergens, pet dander, bacteria, viruses mold spores and pollen, are removed from the indoor air. Since children spend the majority of their time at home, the use of an air purifier could significantly reduce their chances of suffering from asthma.

You can take an important step in helping prevent asthma in your children by using a HEPA air purifier. Clean Air Plus is the most trusted source of fine air purifiers today. When you use an air purifier with a HEPA filter you’re ensuring that only the best purifier possible is being used to protect the health of your children.

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