What Happens When You Expose Babies to Tobacco Smoke?
If you are a parent, you should be careful in avoiding things which could expose your baby to more harm than good. This is because babies are not equipped yet with a strong immune system that can react against foreign bodies, diseases and toxins that enter his or her body. However, there are still a lot of people who expose their babies to second-hand tobacco smoke. This article will attempt to discuss what happens to babies when you expose them to tobacco smoke and why this act should be avoided.
There are many reasons why you should avoid exposing your baby and other people to tobacco smoke. Tobacco smoke contains many toxins that can enter your baby’s body and create significant end-organ damage. When smoke is inhaled by your baby, it enters the windpipes (trachea, bronchi) and the lungs where the smoke particulates are absorbed by the lung cells. These particulates penetrate the lung tissues and can cause significant damage and death to the lung cells. These substances can also change the metabolic processes within cells so that instead of stopping growth, they multiply progressively without pause, giving rise to a mass or tumor. Particulates may also cause hormonal imbalance within the baby’s body and diminish his or her immune resistance towards infections and other illnesses. It may also cause risks in heart disease and diabetes later on when the baby is older.
There are many risks a baby has to face when he or she is exposed to tobacco smoke. One is asthma. Asthma is a reversible long term disease that causes obstruction in the airways. Studies have actually mentioned that babies who grew among smokers have a higher chance of developing asthma because they become more sensitive to pollens, dust, exercise, fibers and other triggers for airway inflammation. These foreign bodies can trigger wheezing, coughing and difficulty of breathing because they make the airways narrower through inflammation.
Exposure to smoke can also cause babies to have Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This is a condition that is marked by the sudden and unexplained demise of a baby who is below one year of age. This is rather unfortunate for parents so that you have to make sure that your baby avoids risk factors for this sudden death. Other risk factors that you have to consider are poor pregnancy care, heat exposure and babies sleeping on their stomachs. Studies show that babies who are born to mother who have smoked during pregnancy and who smoke after delivery have a higher risk of dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke may also have an increased risk for pneumonia. Pneumonia is defined as the inflammation of the lungs due to infections with bacteria, virus or fungi. This condition requires babies to be hospitalized. As previously mentioned, smoke triggers inflammation in the baby’s airways and lowers immune resistance, so it is of no wonder that these babies acquire pneumonia too easily.
If you are a smoking mother or father, we encourage you to stop. Mothers who smoke and who breastfeed their babies have an increased chance of less milk production and early weaning, causing poor nutrition in babies. If you are smoking in front of your baby or child, we highly discourage you from doing so. Aside from the above-mentioned complications, there are many health risks that you will expose your baby to when you smoke in front of him or her. If you have friends or other family members and relatives who smoke, ask them from doing so in front of baby. If you do not have the urge to quit, you should separate yourself from baby when you smoke. Babies are our future world so that we should take care of them in any way we can.