Asthma and Allergies
Creating a healthier indoor home air environment is important for anyone, but especially for those affected by asthma. To be successful, you’ll need help from the whole family. There may even be some expense involved; however, this investment will yield a wonderful dividend-fewer asthma flare-ups and, hopefully, a decreased need for asthma medications.
For starters, it is important to know that a condition or stimulus brings on most asthma attacks. Examples include: allergens (mold, pollen, pet dander, dust mites), irritants (tobacco smoke, room deodorizers), infections, gastroesophageal reflux disease (or GERD) and even emotions (being anxious or scared). A primary care physician or allergy specialist can help identify your child’s precise triggers.
Once you have this information, you are ready to take back your home. You will need to control or get rid of these triggers. The best place to begin is the bedroom, where a child spends a large part of her or his time.
- Deal with the dust mites.
- Dust mites feed on shed flakes of human skin. They can be found on pillows, bedding, mattresses, box springs, upholstered furniture, carpet and even Fluffy, your child’s stuffed toy. We actually breathe in the mites’ fecal matter and decaying body parts. Certainly gross to think about, but for those with asthma who are sensitive to these allergens, dust mites can cause genuine trouble. In order to get control of these critters, here are some suggestions:
- Use mite-proof encasings for box springs, mattresses and pillow covers. Wash bed linens, blankets and stuffed toys in hot water (130 degrees Fahrenheit in order to kill the mites). Replace upholstered furniture with wood, vinyl or leather. Remove carpets and install polished flooring.
- Clean up the mold and mess.
- It is not unusual to have lots of crumbs, clutter and moisture in your kitchen. Thanks to these treats, cockroaches, odors and mold love this area. To combat these asthma triggers, keep the area as clean as possible by putting away all food, removing the trash and wiping the counters down at the end of each day. To combat mold, check under cabinets, behind the refrigerator, around the trash can to dry up any spills left behind.
- Bathroom, Basements, Crawl Spaces and Attached Garages: Combat Mold, Moisture, Poor Ventilation and Chemical Fumes.
- Chemical irritants in the form of pesticides and household cleaners, allergens from dust and mold, as well as the build up of fungus and bacteria are all possible in poorly ventilated areas. It is important to keep these areas clean, dry and well ventilated, as well as making sure any cleaners or pesticides are in properly sealed containers. Also, don’t lay carpet on concrete floors as this creates a perfect environment for the growth of mold and fungal allergens.