It has long been known that allergies and asthma tend to run in families, making children where one or both parents have an allergic disease more likely to develop these conditions. Fortunately, there are steps that may delay or possibly prevent allergies or asthma from developing.
Since some airborne substances may trigger allergy or asthma symptoms, reducing contact with these substances early in life may delay or prevent allergy or asthma symptoms. Research for this is clearest with dust mites. If your child is at high risk of developing allergies, there are steps you can take to control dust mites.
VentMask removes dust mites found in air ducting. To safeguard against mites found in bedding and pillows use zippered, "allergen-impermeable" and wash bedding in hot water weekly. Indoor humidity should be kept below 50%. If possible, carpets and upholstered furniture should be removed from your infant's bedroom.
The relationship between early life exposure to animals and the development of allergies and asthma is somewhat confusing and there are many factors to consider. Previous evidence suggested that children exposed to animals early in life are more likely to develop allergies and asthma. More recent research seems to show that early exposure to animals (cats and dogs in particular) may actually protect children from developing these diseases. Newer research also suggests children raised on farms develop fewer allergies and asthma. Talk with your physician to determine what is best for you and your family.
It is very important not to expose your children to tobacco smoke before or after birth. Smoking during pregnancy increases the chance of your child wheezing during infancy. Exposing children to secondhand smoke has also been shown to increase the development of asthma and other chronic respiratory illnesses.
Wishing you the best of indoor air quality,