Wellness: Diseases & Conditions
Free Your Home of Asthma Triggers
Many of the things that trigger asthma symptoms can be found in your home. So the first step to controlling asthma is finding and removing these triggers. This will help you feel better. You may even need to take less medicine.
Common asthma triggers are dust mites, pets and pet dander, cockroaches, mold, tobacco smoke, and pollen, according to the American Lung Association (ALA). With a little detective work, you can identify triggers in your home and get rid of them.
Clear the air
Most of us spend the greatest amount of our time indoors, the ALA says, so keeping indoor air clean is important. A high-efficiency filter on your cooling and heating system will help trap dust, mold, pet dander and other particles in the air. Electrostatic filters that work in conjunction with a standard filter can remove smaller particles including viruses and bacteria. These filters work best in a dry climate and are less effective when the humidity is high. Be sure to keep the filter clean.
Avoid breathing the smoke or exhaust created by wood-burning stoves and kerosene heaters. And don’t allow anyone to smoke in your home.
Deter dust mites
Dust mites are everywhere in homes. They are found most often in bedding, carpeting, drapes, and stuffed animals. Here are tips from the ALA on how you can keep mites under control:
Remove carpeting in your home, if possible. Hardwood, tile, and linoleum are easier to keep clean and dust-free.
Replace curtains and drapes with pull window shades or vertical blinds.
Wash all bedding in hot water weekly.
Replace down, feather, and foam pillows with fiberfill products.
Use a damp rag or mop to thoroughly clean dusty surfaces before waxing.
Keep windows shut during pollen seasons if you are sensitive to pollen. Otherwise, when appropriate, keep windows open to improve ventilation and reduce humidity (on dry days).
Set limits with pets
If you can’t bear to part with a dog or cat that you are allergic to, at least keep the animal out of the bedroom and off carpeted areas, the ALA says. Wash the animal once a week to reduce allergen; dry shampoos designed for pets make this process easier. Also, remember to wash your hands often.
Wipe out indoor mold
If you live in a humid climate or have a moist basement or bathrooms, use a dehumidifier to reduce mold. Mold often grows in kitchens and bathrooms, so keep surfaces there clean. Regularly clean the base of your refrigerator. It’s a magnet for decaying food, insects, dust, and mold. Avoid using swamp coolers, which increase indoor humidity. Use a vent fan in the bathroom while showering or bathing.