A healthy home for the child: ideal cleanliness, temperature and humidity

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Autumn, winter and early spring: with low temperatures, here are the seasonal ailments ready to strike. And sometimes, in order to avoid colds, coughs, sore throats and flu, the temptation is to keep boys and girls warm at home as much as possible. In reality, however, even when the temperatures drop, you should avoid spending the whole day indoors: after all, if well covered, the cold does not hurt children. Excessive heat in closed environments hurts more, where viruses that attack the respiratory tract proliferate and spread more easily. So, green light for outdoor walks and afternoons in the playground (pandemic restrictions permitting). And watch out for the thermostat.

 What to do instead in late spring and early summer, when the temperatures begin to rise? Is air conditioning bad or good for children? Air conditioning yes, as long as you clean the filters, that the temperature is not polar and direct the vents upwards. The advices.

Read also: Infant Influenza, 9 Remedies To Relieve Symptoms

In this article

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Cleaning

Temperature in the house

The temperature when it's cold

To protect health, the environment and your wallet, the advice is to lower the temperature of the radiators. The ideal? Both at home and at school, the ideal indoor temperature is 18-20 degrees.

This was also confirmed by the Del Paesena Hygiene Society which, as part of its strategies to improve health promotion in urban areas, has drawn up some recommendations for a "healthy, safe and sustainable home". To this end, it also suggests promoting regular air exchange (equal to 0,5 vol / h), because letting fresh air into a house improves respiratory health.

"Too hot hurts - he reiterates Mario Canciani, head of the Allergy and Pneumology Service of the Pediatric Clinic of the University of Udine -: dries the airways, irritates the bronchi and favors the passage of microbes from one person to another, because the closer the ambient temperature is to that of ours body plus microbes live well. That's why temperatures shouldn't be too high even in schools. "

The temperature when it's hot

Air conditioning yes or no? The answer is simple: air conditioning is not bad for babies and children; on the contrary, it is indicated when temperatures are high, provided that it is used correctly. It is necessary:

  1. clean the filters every two weeks;
  2. do not lower the temperature too much, but decrease it by four to five degrees compared to the starting temperature. A rule that is also valid in the car;
  3. after the desired temperature has been reached, it is also possible to set only the dehumidification mode (the sensation of heat decreases);
  4. direct the vents upwards;
  5. open the windows several times a day.

Humidity in the house

Humidity in the house in cold weather

Too much humidity increases the risk of developing respiratory and allergic diseases, such as those from mites and molds. So to reduce the humidity in the house and keep it at the ideal value (60%), the advice is:

  • open the windows at least half an hour a day (especially after cooking and showering)
  • avoid hanging clothes indoors
  • turn on the hood while cooking

"And if the house is humid by its nature (for example if you live in very rainy areas ...) we recommend the use of a dehumidifier" Canciani explains. Who reiterates: "Instead, limit the use of the humidifier to when it is cooled down, because molds and mites increase with increasing humidity. And if you want to keep an eye on the relative humidity value you have at home, you can use the 'hygrometer".

"Those who are not allergic - he adds - can maintain higher humidity, especially when they have some respiratory infection. In any case, it is advisable to perform nasal washes with physiological or hyperphysiological solution (with more salt), which hydrate the mucous membranes of the upper airways very well and low ".

Humidity in the house in hot weather

Once the desired temperature has been reached thanks to an air conditioner, you can also set the mode only dehumidification, which, by eliminating excess humidity (which often accompanies high temperatures), significantly decreases the sensation of heat, making it much more bearable. Once the humidity is reduced, it feels good even with 26-27 degrees.

Cleaning in the house

Also pay attention to cleaning. The dust that inevitably accumulates on surfaces can carry allergens and pollutants, which can cause allergies and asthma and weaken the respiratory tract.

"Among the allergens, for example, the fungal spores of Alternaria enter the house carried by the soles of shoes, which can cause asthma, with even very serious crises". In addition to the good habit of taking off your shoes when entering the house, it is therefore important to dust (preferably with cloths that absorb dust) and to vacuum.

"However, use vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters, because they are able to capture even the finest particles and do not transmit them back into the environment". Canciani, in fact, recalls that "from the outside, ultra-fine powders, which are the worst pollutants, are able to enter the house, even with the windows closed, because they reach the bronchi and the cardiovascular system".

We produce other pollutants that dwell in our homes: "for example by cooking with gas, if we smoke inside and when we use some cleaning products" says the doctor.

To get the better of dust, it is better to give up carpets and rugs. To have less pollutants in the house, it is better to cook with electric or induction hobs and no smoking.

It is important to ventilate the room

Apart from dust, it is important to ventilate the environment (with the foresight, if you live in very busy areas, to do it in the hours when there is less traffic). Having good air in the house helps the respiratory tract: therefore, it is absolutely forbidden to smoke in the house. Cigarette smoke and air pollution weaken the airways' defenses, making them more vulnerable to infections (as well as lung cancer).


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Be careful to clean too much

But beware of "clean too clean", otherwise the immune system of children is not strengthened: in other words, exposure to microbes serves to regulate the immune system. "Too clean hurts, because it seems that the more we come into contact with dirt, the more our body is equipped to deal with viruses and bacteria and seems to forget about allergies. And then it is some products commonly used for cleaning that release pollutants. for our respiratory system, for example formaldehyde ".

However, this does not mean that hygiene must be neglected: remember, for example, to always have children wash their hands before eating.

  • 3-5 children years
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