Removing Allergies & Asthma Triggers From Your Home
Determining the triggers that can cause allergies or asthma isn’t always easy. In this blog post, we’ll identify some of the more common triggers, and what you can do to – if not eliminate them – curtail their affect on your air quality and health.
Almost all pets can cause allergies, including dogs, cats and small animals like birds, hamsters and guinea pigs. All pets should be removed from the home if they trigger asthma and allergy symptoms. Pet allergens may stay in the home for months at a time because they remain in house dust.
If the pet stays in the home, keep it out of the bedroom of anyone with asthma and allergies. Weekly pet baths are one way to cut down on the amount of pet saliva and dander in the home.
Cockroaches can be a big problem for some people with asthma. Tiny pieces of dead roaches and roach droppings end up in house dust and the air you breathe. Help keep your home roach-free by storing food in sealable containers and keeping crumbs, dirty dishes and other sources of food waste cleaned up. Fixing leaks, cleaning up clutter and wiping standing water can also eliminate places where roaches typically find shelter. Baits are less likely then pesticide sprays or foggers to harm your lungs.
Strong Odors or Fumes
Perfume, room deodorizers, cleaning chemicals, paint and talcum powder must be avoided or kept at low levels.
Dust mites are tiny, microscopic animals usually found in house dust. Several thousand mites can be found in a pinch of dust. Mites are one of the major triggers for people with allergies and asthma. They need the most work to remove. Following these guidelines can help get rid of dust mites:
- Put mattress and pillows in allergen-proof covers. Tape over the length of the zipper. Be sure to wash all bedding every week in water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove carpeting, especially in the bedroom. Dust mites thrive in that. If you do have carpet, vacuum as often as possible. Try to use a vacuum cleaner with a high efficiency filter or central vacuum with a collection bag outside the home. To reduce the amount of dust stirred up when cleaning, use a damp cloth or mop when you dust. Avoid cleaning when the person with allergies or asthma is around.
- Use window shades or curtains made of plastic or other washable material for easy cleaning.
- Remove stuffed furniture, stuffed animals (unless animals can be washed) and clutter, especially in the bedroom.
- Closets need extra care. They should hold only needed clothing; putting clothes in a plastic garment (not a dry cleaning bag) may help eliminate dust mites.
- Dust mites like moisture and high humidity. Cutting down the humidity in your home can cut down the number of mites.
- Air conditioning can help. It can lower indoor air humidity; low humidity helps control mold and dust mites.
Smoking should not be allowed in the home. Ask family members and friends to smoke outdoors (and suggest that they quit smoking).
Mold & Mildew
When moisture in the air is high, mold and mildew can be a problem in bathrooms and kitchens. Make sure that these areas have good air circulation and are cleaned often.
Mold may grow on foam pillows when you perspire. Wash the pillowcase every week, dry thoroughly and make sure to change your pillow every year. Fiber-filled pillows may be more helpful to avoid mold.
Molds also grow in the soil of houseplants, so check them often. You may have to keep all plants outdoors.
The best way to protect your family from unhealthy indoor air is prevent problems before they start. Controlling the home environment is a very important part of asthma and allergy care. Air purification removes asthma triggers from the air in your home.
Content copyright American Lung Association