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Study Links Air Pollution to Bronchiolitis in Infants

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As a parent, your top priority is making sure that your child is safe, happy and healthy. In addition to feeding your child nutritious foods you want to do everything that you possibly can to keep illnesses and chronic medical conditions at bay.

study conducted several years ago by researchers at the University of Washington should hold special interest for you, then, as it reveals a disturbing link between ambient air pollution and bronchiolitis in infants. The study, whose findings were published in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, makes a compelling case that early exposure to common air pollutants - including smoke from wood burning stoves and vehicle exhaust - could trigger bronchiolitis in infants.

As a caring parent, this news should raise some alarm, especially if you live within sight of a major freeway or in an area where wood is frequently burned. Protecting your child's health is key, and the study's findings offer additional proof as to the importance of high indoor air quality.

What Is Bronchiolitis?

Bronchiolitis is the number one condition that lands infants in the hospital. Characterized by a runny nose, a high fever, coughing, wheezing and fast breathing, it can become serious within only a day or two. Sometimes, vomiting occurs and becomes so severe that the child can't keep anything down - not even very small quantities of fluid. As a lung infection, bronchiolitis is not something to be taken lightly and typically occurs during the winter and the early part of the spring. Babies aged between three and six months are the most likely to develop the problem.

About the Study

The University of Washington study about the link between ambient air pollution and bronchiolitis in infants was spearheaded by assistant professor of pediatrics, Catherine Karr, M.D. PhD. In the study, researchers examined and analyzed more than 12,000 cases of infant bronchiolitis between 1999 and 2002. At the same time, they looked at data that was culled from air monitoring stations around the homes of the infants in southwest British Columbia. After taking several variables into consideration - including breastfeeding, maternal smoking, gestational age and sex - researchers examined the incidence of cases of bronchiolitis as compared with levels of pollution nearby.

What the Study Revealed

The study revealed a very clear link between incidences of bronchiolitis in infants and ambient air pollution. According to the findings, infants who lived within 150 feet of a major freeway were six percent more likely to come down with bronchiolitis than those who lived further away from that major source of exhaust and airborne contaminants and pollutants. Infants who lived in areas where wood smoke was rampant were eight percent more likely to develop bronchiolitis. Unquestionably, the indoor air quality of the homes of such infants was compromised by their exposure to ambient air pollution, and infants' fragile respiratory systems paid a price.

Protecting Your Child from Bronchiolitis

According to Dr. Karr and other researchers who conducted the study, parents should avoid using wood burning stoves when there is an infant in the home because the indoor air quality is severely compromised by such devices. Similarly, those thinking about starting a family should try to buy homes that are far away from any major freeways or thoroughfares that can compromise clean air. Beyond that, though, there is another great way to protect infants' respiratory health: HEPA air purifiers.

A quality air purifier with a HEPA filter will remove 99.97% of all airborne particles greater than 0.3 microns in size. Additionally, an activated carbon filter will remove all volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including the damaging airborne contaminates and pollutants from traffic-polluted air.

Invest In A HEPA Air Purifier

Clean Air Plus has long been a proponent of clean indoor air, which is why we sell only the best quality HEPA air purifiers today. By purchasing and using one in your home, you can protect your infant's fragile and immature respiratory system. Using a HEPA air purifier improves the indoor air quality of your home significantly, making it easier to keep your baby healthy and happy.

 

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  • Administration Staff