If your little one has recently been diagnosed with infantile eczema, or you feel that he or she may have this condition, there is one important thing to understand about how it relates to asthma and allergies. It's called the atopic march. Here's what you need to know and ways you can protect your baby with a central air conditioner, a dehumidifier, and surface cleaning.
Infantile eczema & atopic march
Infantile eczema is a skin rash that often appears on the tender cheeks of little ones who are affected with sensitive skin. The cheeks will turn bright red and sometimes ooze. The skin is itchy, which causes a baby to rub his or her cheeks frantically, sometimes into their bedding.
In severe cases, a baby can wake up with crusted cheeks from scratching the cheeks through the night and causing them to ooze. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition, but most babies outgrow it. However, now it is believed that there is a connection between infantile eczema, asthma and allergies.
According to the Washington University School of Medicine, the atopic march is how eczema progresses to breathing problems. When your baby's skin is damaged by infantile eczema, a substance called thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is secreted. This substance then circulates in the body and triggers symptoms of asthma. In fact, 50-70% of children who had infantile eczema will develop asthma later in life.
Indoor air quality
Since babies with infantile eczema are susceptible to developing asthma, it is crucially important for parents to reduce the amount of allergens in their homes. One way you can do this is to improve the indoor air quality of your home, which can be done by installing a central air conditioner and a dehumidifier.
A central air conditioning system can keep the home's temperatures at a desirable level, but it can also remove dirty air from the home. Air conditioning units have built-in air filtration systems that allow for a reduction in indoor allergens and pollutants. Call an HVAC contractor or an appliance service center, such as HomeSmart From Xcel Energy, for information on central air conditioning installation.
Most central air conditioning systems can be retrofitted with dehumidifiers that will work in conjunction with the system to provide an allergen-free environment. Two of the most common indoor allergens are mold and dust mites, both of which thrive in moist environments. Mold does not grow easily when the air and surfaces are dry. Dust mites die when humidity levels fall below 50%.
You'll want to keep the central air conditioning and dehumidifier systems clean. Wipe the vents clean on a daily basis. Schedule an appliance service to regularly clean the central air conditioner and dehumidifier.
In addition to improving the air quality inside your home, it's important to keep the surfaces in your home as clean and allergen-free as possible. One way to do this is to make your home easier to clean by removing dust collectors. Carpeting and draperies are prone to getting covered with dust, which are not as easy to clean as hard surfaces.
Remove the carpeting throughout your home, especially in your little one's bedroom. Install a hard flooring surface that can be damp-mopped. It's a good idea to do this on a daily basis to keep control of the dust and other allergens that accumulate, such as pollen.
Take down fabric draperies and install window coverings that can easily be wiped down with a damp cloth. Limit the amount of horizontal surfaces in your home, such as unnecessary bookshelves.
If you feel your little one is suffering from infantile eczema or has been diagnosed with the condition already, you'll want to ask the pediatrician about other ways that you can effectively reduce allergens in your home to reduce the risk that your little one will develop asthma.