Over 20 million people in the United States are affected with asthma. With so many people having trouble with this disease, raising awareness about it particularly about its triggers is one of the first steps in battling it. So how do we fight asthma triggers? We start at home.
At home, you’ll find lots of elements that can trigger an asthma attack. These can be anything from dust mites, molds and pollens to pets and household irritants. Secondhand smoke inside the home can also set off an asthma attack.
To protect yourself from dust mites, cover pillows and mattresses with linens that are zippered and allergen-proof. Beddings should be washed in hot water at least once a week. For the floor, it would be best to do away with the carpeting. Carpets attract and trap dust mites. Now if you insist on carpeting the floor, you need to vacuum very often using a multi-layer, allergen-proof vacuum bag. Always wear a mask when vacuuming. You can also use products that remove dust mites in carpets.
It is also necessary to change the filters on heaters and air conditioners regularly. Dust all surfaces and furniture with a damp cloth. Sweeping or dusting with dry cloth can send dust mites flying all over so it is a must to use a damp cloth. Avoid using heavy curtains or drapes in the windows. Opt for light washable ones that you can easily wash in hot water.
Get rid of clutter. Cluttered items also attract and keep dust. Toys should be kept in closed toy bins. Books should be properly organized in covered bookshelves. Clothes should be kept inside drawers and closets. Speaking of toys, it would be best to avoid buying your kid traditional furry stuffed animals. Choose the washable variety that does not attract dust mites and molds. In the same logic, don’t buy pillows or beddings that contain feathers.
Stop mold and mildew from breeding inside your home by airing out damp and humid areas regularly. Use a dehumidifier for this purpose. Always clean bathrooms with products that are designed to kill molds and prevent their regrowth. Bedrooms should not be adorned with plants. If you are going to paint the walls or any other surface inside the house, add a mold inhibitor to the paint mixture to avoid mold from growing.
As for insects, you can control these allergens by using roach baits and traps. Many people with asthma are allergic to cockroaches and other insects. You can use insect sprays but only when nobody is inside the house. For example, if the whole family is leaving for an out of town trip, you can spray the entire house with insect spray so that when you come home after a few days, the smell would be gone already.
Among all the triggers, pollens are probably the most difficult to control. To avoid exposure to pollen, limit your outdoor activity in the morning, especially during warm weather, as this is when pollen count is at its highest. Make sure that you keep the windows closed during seasons that are high in pollen.
Finally, do not smoke anywhere inside the house. If you are going to have pets, make them stay outside to prevent the animal dander from spreading around. Make sure the pets are bathed regularly.