Controlling Asthma Triggers
How can I prevent asthma triggers at home?
The most important thing you can do is to control asthma triggers. The main asthma triggers that are in your home are dust mites, molds, pollens, pets, cockroaches, and household irritants. Secondhand tobacco smoke may also be a trigger in your home, especially for a child with asthma.
How can I protect myself against dust mites?
- Encase pillows, mattresses, and box springs with allergen-proof, zippered covers.
- Wash all bedding in hot water about once a week.
- Non-carpeted flooring is best. If you cannot get rid of your carpeting, vacuum often with a multi-layer, allergen-proof vacuum bag. Wear a mask while vacuuming. If your child has asthma, do not vacuum while he or she is in the room. Products that eliminate dust mites from carpeting (such as Acarosan) can be purchased. Your asthma care provider can give you information about these products.
- Regularly change filters on heaters and air conditioners.
- Replace heavy, lined curtains or drapes with washable window coverings. Wash window coverings in hot water. Use plain window shades instead of mini-blinds.
- Dust all surfaces often, including lampshades and windowsills, with a damp cloth.
- Keep clutter under control. Toys and books should be stored in enclosed bookshelves, drawers, or closets.
- Replace traditional stuffed animals with washable stuffed animals.
- Keep all clothing in drawers and closets. Keep drawers and closets closed.
- Cover air ducts with filters or cheesecloth. Change these when soiled.
- Pillows and bedding should not contain feathers.
- Keep indoor humidity low (25-50%). Use a dehumidifier.
How do I stop mold and mildew from growing in my home?
- Air out damp, humid areas frequently. Run a dehumidifier to keep humidity between 25% and 50%.
- Use air conditioners when possible.
- Clean bathrooms regularly using products that kill and prevent mold. Use exhaust fans to vent steam. Do not carpet the bathroom.
- Keep indoor plants out of bedrooms.
- When painting, add mold inhibitor to paint to prevent mold from growing.
- Avoid sources of outdoor molds, such as wet leaves or garden debris.
How do I control insects inside my home?
Many homes and apartments have cockroaches and other insects. Some people with asthma are allergic to these. To control these allergens in your home:
- Use roach baits or traps.
- Insect sprays can be used but should only be sprayed when no one is at home.
- Before you or your child returns home after spraying, make sure that your home has been aired out for a couple of hours.
How can I decrease my exposure to pollens?
Pollens are difficult to avoid, as they cannot be eliminated from the atmosphere. You can lessen your or your child's exposure to these by following these guidelines:
- Pollen counts are highest early in the morning, especially on warm, dry days. Limit your or your child's outdoor activities during these times.
- Keep windows closed during pollen seasons.
- Use air conditioning if possible.