How Childhood Illnesses Can Impact Long-Term Mental Health

Sick little girl in bed. Mother with thermometer is sitting near the bed.Written by Veronica Turner


The effects of childhood illnesses can linger, shaping mental health for years to come.

For instance, chronic conditions like asthma or diabetes require frequent medical care and lifestyle adjustments, which can contribute to feelings of difference or exclusion. In turn, long-term mental health can be significantly impacted.


The Role of Early Bonds and Attachments

Childhood illnesses can majorly impact the development of early bonds and attachments, which are the foundation for future relationships.

A child constantly in medical care might have less opportunity to cultivate strong connections with peers or siblings. Over time, these disruptions can lead to difficulties in forming close relationships, potentially stimulating long-term feelings of loneliness or isolation.

This could then contribute to mental health problems such as depression and social anxiety disorders later in life.


Social Exclusion

Following on from the last point, social relations can take a hit when battling health issues during the early years.

Difficulty in keeping up with peers physically often leads to withdrawal from social activities or rejection by peer groups, which may trigger depression in later life stages.


Stress Factors

Dealing with illnesses in childhood can create an inherent level of stress. Often, that can result in anxiety symptoms as a reaction to the situation.

For example, fear of recurring symptoms or impending medical appointments can lead to prolonged periods of worry.


Impact on Self-Image and Identity

One of the profound long-term mental health impacts can be seen in the child’s developing self-image and identity.

Chronic illness might cause children to feel different or develop the perception that they are ‘abnormal’.

Over time, this negative self-image can lead to problems like body dysmorphic disorder or eating disorders.

Thus, addressing these distorted perceptions early is vital for preventing future mental health issues.


Psychological Effects

Dealing with physical discomfort and pain frequently plays out in one’s mental arena, affecting sufferers’ perceptions of self and overall satisfaction in life.

It’s not uncommon for such circumstances to lead to low self-esteem and a pessimistic worldview.


Impact on Education

Educational opportunities may be hampered by chronic sickness, as well.

In addition to the physical toll it takes, illness may cause cognitive impairments or interruptions in schooling that hinder academic progress.

Consequently, this educational disruption feeds into one’s mental well-being resulting in feelings of insecurity or dissatisfaction.


Long-Term Trauma

The traumatic experience of prolonged medical treatments during formative years can carve deep emotional scars and even lead to PTSD in some cases.

Also, the repeated pain and invasiveness related to certain treatments can leave lingering fears or aversions tied closely to one’s self-sense.


Resilience Development

There is a flip side. Some children who experience illnesses early in life develop extraordinary resilience over time.

In dealing with adversity at a young age, they may acquire coping skills that fortify them against future mental health challenges.

Therefore, outcomes are not always negative. Childhood illness can sometimes lead to heightened emotional robustness in adulthood.


The Importance of Professional Helpsick teddy bear with injury in a bed in the hospital

Entrusting mental well-being with professionals who specialize in child psychology becomes crucial when dealing with the aftermath of childhood ailments.

The intervention of experts at an early stage can help individuals to manage issues such as anxiety and depressive symptoms. In turn, that can reduce the chances of long-term mental health ramifications.

Additionally, mental health professionals can offer strategies to help people navigate the social and educational hurdles that can be caused by illnesses.

This professional involvement and support can act as a strong buffer against more serious future mental health implications.


Wrapping Up

Early intervention and supportive environments can mitigate the potential long-term mental health effects of childhood illnesses.

So, if your child has an illness, make sure you take steps to lessen the impact that the illness could have on their mental health later in life. The first step is to contact a mental health professional.


Author Bio: Veronica Turner is a health and lifestyle writer with over 10 years of experience. She creates compelling content on nutrition, fitness, mental health, and overall wellness.”


Please also review AIHCP’s Health Care Life Coach Certificate program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  These programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.

How to Avoid Long Term Spine Problems


Written by McKenzie Jones 

Even though you do not pay much attention to it, your spine forms an integral part of your body. Thanks to it, you can sit upright, walk and even move your entire body. If you have never had backache before then, you might never realize how important this part of your body is. However, there are various things you can do to ensure that your spine stays healthy.

Pay Attention to Your Posture

One of the leading causes of spinal problems has to be your posture. If you sit or stand wrongly, then your spine will bend in that direction. The first thing you need to do is stand on a wall with your heels firmly on the ground. If you cannot pass your hand through the small of your back, you need to work on your posture. Prolonged poor posture will make the spine bend awkwardly, and that will cause you to have back issues.

Sit Upright

You probably spend most of your time sitting in a chair, and if your posture is wrong, then there is a huge chance you might start experiencing back pain. Just like you did with the standing posture, ensure that you sit upright in the chair. Do not slouch forward or bend so back up into the chair. Doing that might feel comfortable at first, but it will make your spine deform, and you might never sit properly again. The thing with your spine is, you might be damaging it without even knowing. By the time you realize, the damage might be too much that it is irreparable.

Monitor Your Weight

The one thing that might be straining your spine is your weight. If you realize that your back keeps hurting no matter what you do, you might want to think about looking at your weight and know how it is progressing. You might realize that the main reason your back has issues is you have gained so much weight serially around the mid-section that you can no longer walk around with a straight posture. For this reason, it makes sense if you took your time and worked on losing weight. You can start out simple with dieting then move on to exercise. No matter what you do, ensure that you are working on yourself and your body.

See a Doctor

Many times when your spine has an issue, there will be tell-tale signs. You might notice that your back hurts way more than it should, even if you are not straining. In such a scenario, talking to a spine specialist will help you identify the issue, and you can deal with it as it happens. It beats having to wait for the entire condition to get worse and have you confined to a hospital bed. Many people fear going to the doctor because they do not want to know the issue. However, it is recommended that you see a doctor sooner rather than later. It will help you discover any condition you might have and treat it before it gets worse.

Sleep Well

Whenever you think about sleeping, the only thing that runs through your mind is getting in enough hours of sleep. However, your sleeping posture might be the reason why you are having backaches. If you realize that you wake up with body aches, chances are you are not sleeping properly. The first thing you need to do is get an orthopedic mattress. It will ensure that your back does not bend, and your spine will get aligned better when you sleep. There are several mattresses in the market that provide that support, so you should check them out. Additionally, it would help if you got a good pillow. A comfortable pillow will ensure that your neck and head are well aligned as you sleep. If you have any area on your spine that needs support, you can get a body pillow to ensure you sleep better and reduce the risk of damage to your spine.


Taking care of your spine is easier than trying to get it fixed. With the tips above, you get to ensure that you stay healthy and your spine will not have any problems that can be incapacitating.


The American Institute of Health Care Professionals offers a full continuing education program leading to Certification as a Health Care Life Coach, you may preview our program by accessing this link.


What is Sciatica? How to Treat it

By: McKenzie Jones

Sciatica is a painful nerve condition that gets its name from the very nerve it affects, the sciatic nerve. When you consider that the sciatic nerve travels along the lower back via the hips, butt, and down each leg, it makes sense that people suffering from it tend to complain of lower back pain. Curiously, this condition usually only manifests along one side of the body.

Symptoms of Sciatica

Several symptoms can quickly clue a person in on whether or not they are dealing with a case of sciatica.

  • Paint that starts from the lower spine region, known as the lumbar, and spreads to the butt and along the back of a leg. There might be discomforting sensations anywhere along the sciatic nerve’s path but it most often follows this “course.”
  • Erratic levels of pain in the area. Sometimes it can feel like a minor ache, while other times it feels like you are being jabbed with a burning implement or even got zapped with electricity. The pain will usually be worse during coughing and sneezing and prolonged periods of being seated can worsen these issues. Again, this variable level of pain only manifests along one side of the body.
  • Some sciatic patients complain of numbness, tingling, or weakness in the relevant leg or foot; it is completely possible to feel pain in one section of the leg and feel numb in a separate part.

Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica usually happens when one of the following events occurs and compresses the sciatic nerve.

  • You experience a herniated disc. Your spine is composed of bones and discs. While the former is obvious, spinal discs are composed of a soft gelatinous “nucleus” surrounded by a rubbery “annulus;” herniated discs happen when the nucleus manages to seep out of a torn, damaged annulus.
  • Bone spurs manifest along the spine.
  • The spine becomes narrowed through a condition like spinal stenosis.

How to Prevent Sciatica

The best way to prevent sciatica is to look at the most common circumstances that contribute to it.

  • The spine can change as we age and scenarios like herniated discs and bone spurs are only more likely to occur the older a person gets.
  • Because excess body weight can place additional strain on the spine, it is best to try and stay lean through exercise and good dieting.
  • Jobs that involve a lot of back-twisting, handling heavyweights, or driving for long periods of time all play a role in sciatica but may not be a definitive source.
  • Lengthy Sits. Keeping active is a great way to avoid sciatica; people who stay seated for lengthy periods or whose lifestyle is mostly sedentary are far more likely to develop sciatica.
  • Diabetes manipulates the body’s blood sugar usage and can contribute to the sort of nerve damage that leads to nerve damage. In short, sciatica is another reason to practice good eating habits and avoid developing diabetes.

How to Treat Sciatica

Despite how raging the pain may be from a case of sciatica, sciatica treatment is usually resolved without surgery and can take just a few weeks. In the rare cases where conservative treatments fail to abate the symptoms or the subject has also developed extreme weakness in the legs, bowel, or bladder, doctors will resort to surgical options. If surgery is called for, the surgeon will perform a discectomy or laminectomy, procedures where they go into the part of the body that is compressing the sciatic nerve and either partly removes a bone or repair and/or replaces the herniated disc.

In Conclusion

Sciatica is a form of nerve damage, associated with the lower back, butt, and legs, that can ruin a person’s day. While the pain that flares up with this ailment can vary wildly, the fact remains that the patient is experiencing a pinch or other impairment along their sciatic nerve. Several factors contribute to sciatica and most of them can be prevented. Should you need to go to the doctor, only a small percent of sciatica cases require surgical intervention.


Please also review AIHCP’s Health Care Life Coaching Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals.

Small Steps Equal Joyful Holistic Living

Holistic Health

 By: Tara Tonsetic, CHC Certified Health Care Coach

 Sometimes a simple mind shift and taking a few small steps toward change makes a world of difference during this ever-changing season of life. Small steps can lead to big changes and big changes can lead to a more joyful way of holistic living. Here are a few health care life coach tips you can do that are positive to your overall health, giving you more energy and balance.


Water, Water, Water!

 Keeping hydrated is a great way to help improve your overall energy level. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces per day (Children need 1 for each lb. they weigh). It helps to drink 20 ounces of your total consumption first thing in the morning to help start the daily process. You can always jazz it up by adding fresh fruit or drinking warm water with lemon to help boost your Immune system and balance the pH levels in your body. *Source for drinking ½ your bodyweight in ounces per day Click this link:


Restful Sleep.

Getting enough sleep each night is a powerful tool, simple as it sounds. Clocking seven to nine hours of sleep a night is ideal, if you can manage it. Incorporating these small changes can have long-lasting effects. Practice regular sleep patterns by going to bed at the same time each night. Disconnect from all technology at least an hour before bed, including your TV and phone in your bedroom. Also, if

you are feeling worried or anxious, it helps to write down anything that may be causing you stress. A simple list will do. Write down what you plan to do the next day, as well. This will help free up your mind and allow for a restful night’s sleep.


Move That Body!

 When we think about exercising, sometimes it can be overwhelming to add another task to our daily to-do lists. Start small; any movement is good, even if it is just 10-15 minutes a day. Think about what you liked to do as a kid — dance, run, jump on a trampoline? What made you feel happy? Try that out! Think outside the box. *Source for movement each day: click this link


Positive Attitude.

 A positive mindset can change so much. Just a simple adjustment on how you view something or how you respond to someone reflects on your overall health. We have the ability each and every day to make the choice to live with positive intentions, to celebrate all the good of life’s happenings, but also to not dwell on those that are not so happy. Remember that you are in total control of your life, how you feel, and how you respond and interact with others!


By making these simple changes, you are helping to balance out your blood sugar levels, which will improve your overall physical and emotional wellbeing. It also will give you more energy, thus adding more fuel to your day! Remember, little steps can equal big results. As always, though, don’t forget to grant yourself some grace when trying something different.

Are you a health care professional interested in becoming a professional Heath Care Life Coach? If you have an interest in this sub-specialty practice then the Certification program offered by the American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc. may be just the program for you. You can preview our Certification Program at this page.


Additional Resources

Health Coaching: access this link

How to Calculate How Much Water to Drink:  access this link

Sleep Hygiene : access this link


Tara Tonsetci, CHC, is a Certified Health Coach. She may be reached at:

Encouraging Isolated Patients to Spend Time Outdoors

Woman Walking Along Path In Autumn WoodlandWritten By Lucy Peters

The average American is believed to spend nearly 90% of their life indoors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. This equates to being outdoors for a total of one half of one day per week.  Patients who are in isolation due to being immunocompromised or testing positive for a contagious disease may spend even less time outdoors. This can result in increased anxiety, a compromised circadian rhythm, and even an increasingly suppressed immune system. Thankfully, there are a number of ways in which a healthcare professional can help an isolated patient spend time outdoors.

Highlight the benefits of spending time outside

A patient is more likely to make an effort to spend time outside if they are aware of the benefits they may enjoy. There are a number of science-backed benefits that can be highlighted. Spending time outside can reduce cortisol levels which will boost your overall mood according to a Japanese nature therapy study. Spending time outdoors can also help accelerate healing according to the University of Pittsburgh while a Harvard Medical School publication concurs that outdoor time will boost Vitamin D levels significantly. Spending time outdoors can also aid in reducing the mental fatigue that often presents itself during periods of illness.

Suggest simple yet beneficial outdoor activities

Although structured outdoor therapy sessions may yield impressive results, it is not always a viable option. Healthcare professionals are in a good position to suggest simple yet beneficial ways that will increase the time an isolated patient spends outdoors. Going for a walk, even if just around the garden, will yield benefits both associated with being outside as well as physical activity. Patients can also be encouraged to conduct a range of everyday activities, such as reading and catching up on social media, outside. While a deck or porch is ideal places for these, finding a sunny spot near an open window will also suffice.

What if going outdoors isn’t an option?

For some isolated patients, going outside isn’t an option due to a variety of reasons. According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, simply viewing natural settings can boost physiological well-being considerably. These findings can be supported in a number of ways. By encouraging patients to open windows to allow fresh air in, placing indoor plants or cut flowers in the home, or looking out into the garden, they may become privy to benefits typically associated with outdoor time.  Apart from noticing a reduction in anxiety and stress, cognitive function may also be improved.

Spending time outdoors is of pertinent importance to isolated patients. Although different strategies may need to be employed for each, there are many ways these patients can be exposed to the outdoors and reap the subsequent benefits.



Please also review AIHCP’s  Health Care Life Coach Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a health care life coach program

Challenges Facing New Nurses during the COVID-19 Crisis

Doctor examining a little girl with a stethoscope at home.

Written By Lucy Peters

If you are new to nursing and you have recently started working at a hospital or health center, then without a doubt you have thought about what a big challenge the start of your working life will be. A recent survey by the American Nurses Association of 32,000 nurses showed that a vast majority (87%) of nurses are afraid of going to work and 36% have had to care for COVID-19 patients without adequate PPE. What are the biggest challenges facing new nurses, and what steps can be taken to ensure they stay safe during COVID-19 and future pandemics?

A Need for Greater Preparedness

As stated by Forbes, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of integrating more public health emergency preparedness and response (PHEPR) content into nursing curricula. Previous crises had already highlighted the need for training in this area, but previous attacks (such as the 2001 Anthrax attack) were more short-lived and did not affect either the health system or the global economy to the extent that COVID-19 is. Offering post-graduate emergency preparedness and conducting emergency drills can help nurses be more prepared for public health emergencies.

Better PPE Provisions

In late May, a survey conducted by the National Nurses United (NNU) found that a majority of respondents said they were having to reuse protective equipment meant for single use. One third also said that their employer expected them to rely on their personal sick leave, vacation days, or paid time off if they were to become infected with the virus. A separate study released by the California Nurses Association also showed high PPE reuse rates. Clearly, the need for reliable protective equipment is an issue affecting new as well as more experienced nurses. Other protective measures that should be adopted include creating separate treatment zones for persons attending emergency due to COVID-like symptoms and having strict isolation plans for infected patients.

Increased Pay Opportunities reports that some high-need areas are offering sign-on bonuses for nurses. Learning institutions are also making it easier for people to enter the profession — for instance, by offering nursing qualifications in one year to those who have a Bachelor’s degree in another field. Accelerated programs appeal to millennials studying medicine since many are concerned about college debt and/or the amount of time required to complete standard college degrees. Younger students are keen on newer approaches to medicine (including telemedicine) and they are meaning-driven rather than salary-driven. However, many are already shouldering debt from former college courses, meaning that searching out better pay has become a necessary priority for many.

The Benefits of Starting Nursing during the Pandemic

Despite all the challenges, some nurses who have started in the profession during the pandemic have reported a great sense of achievement and joy at making a positive difference to the lives of so many. Working at a time in which staff shortages and long working hours have become the norm in many hospitals also puts their skills and commitment to the test. Even seasoned nurses have reported feeling overwhelmed at times yet they have also reported a great sense of achievement as they observe patients heal and obtain their release from the hospital.

Nurses who have just graduated or who are completing accelerated programs to start working during the pandemic have many challenges ahead. Although some states seem to have passed the worst of the pandemic, others are still struggling with issues such as PPEs and long working hours. Nurses are here to heal, but not to be martyrs because of a lack of equipment and safety measures. Without a doubt, COVID-19 has only highlighted the importance of preparing health teams for future health crises of a grand scale.



Please also review AIHCP’s  Health Care Life Coach Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a health care life coach program

How Will Travel Change for Healthcare Professionals in the Near Future?

air plane wing over a landscape

Written By Lucy Peters

Despite still-rising rates of COVID-19 in some parts of the world, airports across the globe are already reopening as part of lockdown easing restrictions. The U.S. Travel Association has already outlined what travel will look like for people in the near future. Their report, Travel in the New Normal, indicates that health care professionals completing residencies abroad, attending key medical conferences, or applying for jobs interstate or overseas will be able to do so safely. The report covers many parts of the travel ecosystem that doctors, nurses, and other passengers will have to negotiate when opting to travel during the era of ‘new normality.’

Newly Designed Public Spaces and Airports

Until the COVID-19 vaccine is manufactured and received on a wide-scale basis, traveling healthcare workers can get used to new designs in airports. Thus, sanitation stands with antibacterial gel, physical barriers such as transparent screens in areas where customer attendants are dealing with people, automated entrance, and contactless check-ins will be prevalent. Payments via mobile, contactless ticketing and identification, and automated ordering and pick up for food and services during travel may also grow in importance. Because healthcare workers have a higher risk of exposure to the virus, it will be vital to follow physical distancing and PPE use seriously — both for the health worker’s health and those of passengers flying in close contact with them.

Training for Employees

The U.S. Travel Association recommends that healthcare and other workers who will be traveling frequently invest in training for employees regarding implementing safety measures. Resources can and should also ideally be provided to families traveling during the health crisis, since health workers completing a residency or stint of work abroad or interstate will most likely be bringing families unless they normally live alone. Resources should be provided regarding currently unsafe places to travel. This way, families can avoid flight routes that go through high-risk areas. Supplemental health travel coverage for family members may also be helpful if medical assistance is needed while you are abroad or in another state. Health workers should additionally be fully informed of the respective risks of different modes of travel.

Health Screening and Immunity Passports

One of the most frequently reported trends in travel involves the use of ‘immunity passports’ indicating that the travel has already recovered the COVID-19 virus. The arrival of the highly awaited vaccine may also herald a new era in which travelers will only be permitted access to planes or other means of transport if they have already been vaccinated. The extent to which immunity passports are feasible remains to be seen. At this point in time, airports, trains, subways and other public spaces are simply redesigning spaces, conducting temperature checks in some cases, and/or asking travelers to walk through sanitizing ‘spray tunnels’ that emit a sanitizing mist.

The nature of travel is already changing at a fast pace. From the use of methacrylate separators in customer service areas to new regulations with respect to serving food, many measures are being adopted by airports, food service companies, and other services related to the industry. Until the arrival of the vaccine, the requirement of ‘immunity passport’s remains a possibility. In order to keep healthcare workers and their families safe, employees should provide quality training regarding destinations and safety measures, and provide advice on the safest way to fly or travel on wheels.




Please also review AIHCP’s Health Care Life Coach Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals.

The Role of Diet in Dealing With Anxiety 

Fried fish on green asparagus with salad

Written By Lucy Peters

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults or 18.1 percent of the population every year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. While the healthcare industry has various medications and therapies you can use to calm or treat your anxiety, the answer could be hiding in plain sight; your diet. Over the years, nutritionists and doctors have realized that, just like other major body organs, the brain requires certain nutrients to maintain proper function and ward off mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. While there are no magic foods that will cure your anxiety, there are various changes you can make to your daily diet to improve your symptoms and support your road to recovery.

Get your omega-3 fatty acids 

One nutrient that has been proven to be especially effective at reducing anxiety symptoms is omega-3 fatty acids which you can get from fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and trout as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seeds. Foods rich in omega-3 provide two essential fatty acids- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) — that are needed to reduce inflammation, regulate neurotransmitters, and promote healthy brain function. For the best results, you can aim to get at two servings of fatty fish every week.

Keep your blood sugar in check 

Over time changes in your blood sugar levels can increase your risk of developing anxiety disorders and other serious health problems. Thankfully, there are various measures you can take to gain better control of blood sugar levels and keep them stable. The easiest way to do this is by eating a well-balanced diet, controlling your food portions, and avoiding skipping meals. Beyond that, you must also be careful about the types of carbs you eat since they are the biggest influencers of blood sugar levels. Try to eat foods rich in complex carbs such as oatmeal, whole-grain cereals, whole-grain bread, and quinoa. This will give your brain a serotonin boost which has a calming effect. Minimize your intake of refined sugar and simple carbs such as white bread, rice, and pasta that may exacerbate your anxiety disorder.

Supplement your diet 

Thanks to the growth of the supplementation industry in the US, there are many supplements available today that allow you to get the nutrients you need directly and in the right amounts. One key supplement that will help you in the battle against anxiety is magnesium. Magnesium is a key mineral that is needed to maintain full body function and is also an important element of managing anxiety episodes. Vitamin D is another essential supplement in managing anxiety since it promotes a feeling of well-being. Other supplements that may help include L-theanine, vitamin B-complex, and melatonin. Before taking any supplements, make sure you consult your doctor and adhere to the recommended daily allowance to be on the safe side.

What you drink matters too 

What you drink is part of your diet, and you must be mindful of it if you want to deal with your anxiety. First of all, you need to stay hydrated with good old fashioned water to prevent dehydration which is known to cause mood problems. Next, try to cut back on your coffee intake. Studies have shown that caffeine can cause symptoms of anxiety such as nervousness and shaking or even induce panic attacks in people with anxiety disorders. On top of that, too much coffee may mess with your sleep which further deteriorates your brain health. If you are itching for a hot beverage, try some chamomile tea which can play a role in anxiety reduction.

While changes to your diet can make a difference to your mood and sense of well-being, they’re not a substitute for the medications or therapies that may be recommended by your psychiatrist. Nutrition will work best as part of a comprehensive anxiety treatment plan that includes counseling, medication, getting regular exercise, improving sleep habits, and increasing social support.





Please also review AIHCP’s Health Care Life Coach Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals.

Can The Air Quality Of Homes Be Responsible For The Occurrence Of Asthma?

Young woman using an inhaler during an asthma attack.

Written By Lucy Peters

Approximately one in 13 people live with asthma, according to the Center For Disease Control. That equates to 25 million adults and children in America that are going through the daily routine of avoiding asthma attacks and triggers. While one of the most commonly cited triggers is outdoor pollen, there is also overwhelming evidence that the quality of the indoor environment can just as easily trigger or cause asthma or related illnesses. Around two-thirds of people living with asthma say that the air quality worsens their symptoms. However, a key part of resolving this lies in understanding the indoor elements that can trigger asthma and educating asthma patients on avoiding these triggers.

Tobacco And Indoor Smoke

The presence of smoke has been well documented as a trigger for both asthma and asthma-related illnesses such as lung disease. People living with asthma who are exposed to second-hand smoke from cigarettes are more like to have an asthma attack or develop sinus infections. Children also face an increased risk of developing respiratory illnesses and airway inflammation. In 2009, toxic fumes given off by candles was also shown to increase indoor air particulates. This has been shown to compromise lung and respiratory function. Instead, patients can opt for paraffin-free alternatives and maintain moderation when lighting candles to avoid these effects. For tobacco smoke, avoiding smoking in the home or close to it minimizes contact with it.

The Presence And Encouragement Of Allergens  

The presence of certain allergens in the home can cause both asthma and allergies related conditions, including eczema and exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates that around 90 percent of those with asthma also have exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). The symptoms include tight chest feelings, sneezing and other signs commonly seen with seasonal and outdoor allergies. However, the triggers can also include pet dander, dust mites and cockroaches – all synonymous with the indoor environment. Other studies have shown that exposure to dust mites and termites such as cockroaches is a key trigger of asthma in children. However, a Tulane University study showed that the use of elimination measures such as cockroach bait in a home resulted in as many as 50 fewer days of asthma symptoms a year.

The reduction of these allergens to aid indoor air quality revolves around simple ongoing habits in the home like identifying the source of allergens such as pets, bedding, wall to wall carpet and damp areas. To avoid dust mites, the practice of weekly cleaning habits such as vacuuming and wiping down any surfaces that may attract dust can help. For those with pets, regular brushing and bathing may help reduce the shedding of pet dander. Steps can also be taken to reduce the buildup of moisture in the home by addressing any leaks, using a humidifier, and opening windows after a shower. A damp environment fosters the growth of slow-growing fungi like Stachybotrys, which releases airborne mold spores and can cause skin rashes, breathing difficulties and lung disease. Exposure to mold types like black mold has been shown to trigger severe asthma attacks in asthma patients.

Transmission Of Outdoor Air Pollution

While proper ventilation of the home is key to preventing humidity buildup, it is also important to limit the transfer of outdoor pollens to the indoor environments. Several studies have shown that lengthened exposure to air pollution can both exacerbate and cause asthma in children and adults. Pregnant women who have been exposed to high levels of pollution are not only more likely to develop asthma, but their unborn child is also more likely to develop the condition or have a compromised immune system.

Checking pollution forecasts for high pollen times can identify ideal times to close windows and other openings of the building. Additionally, asthma patients can utilize extractor fans and air conditioners to remove any existing pollens in the home. Finally, ensuring the doors and windows are properly sealed can help avoid outdoor irritants like pollen or smoke from entering the home.

Finally, if the current indoor environment contains any of these triggers, being aware of the early signs of asthma or asthma-related illness will alert patients about when to seek medical help. Frequent coughing, shortness of breath, nasal congestion and other signs of allergies may indicate it may be time to speak to a doctor.



Please also review AIHCP’s Health Care Life Coach Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals.

Exercise: A Natural, Powerful Way to Battle Anxiety in Teens

Written by Lucy Peters

Almost one in three teens aged 13 to 18 will experience an anxiety disorder at some point, as reported by the National Institutes of Health. The rise in anxiety is caused by a bevy of factors, including pressure to succeed academically and at sports, fears of threatening events such as shootings, and the link between their self-esteem and social media. Anxiety, when severe, can be debilitating, potentially stopping children and youths from attending school or leading a healthy social life. It is vital for children to learn how to stop an anxiety attack in its tracks, above all because this ability will place them in good stead for the rest of their lives. One method proven to be highly successful is that of physical activity – something that many children aren’t getting enough of (thus the growing obesity rates).

Exercise and Teen Anxiety

A study by researchers at the University of Vermont on highschool students found that regular exercise significantly reduces suicidal attempts by 23% in bullied teens. Research undertaken at the University of Toronto also found that participation in cardiovascular exercise and sports (including basketball, soccer, and gymnastics) enjoyed better mental health and lower levels of stress. As stated by Professor J. Raglin of the Kinesiology Department of Indiana University-Bloomington, working out regularly can improve clinical anxiety and depression “to such a degree that it rivals medication.”

Taking it Home

Older teens in particular can find it hard to find the time to play sport or head for the gym, particularly when they are preparing for final exams. Exercise in the great outdoors wields unique benefits, since nature itself is a powerful stress-buster. However, kids or parents with limited time can bring the gym home. Children can get their hearts racing by working out to recorded cardio sessions or by working up a sweat on a spin bike or treadmill. These machines have features that allow users to alter aspects like speed and inclination. Kids who are active and energetic can opt for either machine. However, if they have issues like backache or they simply prefer cycling, a stationary bike might be their best option. They are an ideal component of a home gym, which can also comprise a few free weights, space for dancing or doing aerobics, and a corner for a good sound system.

Welcoming Holistic Exercise

In addition to performing traditional forms of exercise, kids might like to try yoga or Tai Chi. Both practices have been found in various studies to lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol (which when present at high levels, can trigger anxiety and panic attacks). In one study published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, researchers found that yoga classes have powerful psychological effects for high school students, improving mood and anxiety. As a deeply mindful activity, yoga can also help children improve self-regulatory skills like resilience and control over how they express anger.

When it comes to tackling anxiety in teens, exercise is a beneficial tool to include in one’s strategy. From playing sports to exercising at home, there are many ways to naturally lower stress levels while also working on improving body mass levels, strength, and flexibility. In addition to cardiovascular workouts, kids should also complete resistance exercises and consider including mindful activities into the equation – to further boost the stress-relieving effects of physical activity.




Please also review AIHCP’s Health Care Life Coach Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals.