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Asthma Health Center

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Allergic Asthma

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Tips to Control Allergens

To control your allergic asthma, you have to avoid breathing the allergens. Here are some tips to get relief:

  • Stay inside when pollen counts are high. Keep the windows closed. If it's hot, use an air conditioner with a clean air filter. Don't use an old air conditioner if it smells musty or moldy. Don’t use an evaporative cooler (also known as a swamp cooler).
  • Avoid dust mites. These microscopic critters live in fabrics and carpets. Wrap your pillows, mattress, and box spring in allergen-proof covers. Wash your sheets and other bedding once a week in hot water. Remove wall-to-wall carpeting if you can. Get rid of areas where dust can gather, like heavy curtains, upholstered furniture, and piles of clothing. If your child has allergic asthma, only buy washable stuffed animals.
  • Control indoor humidity. Check with an inexpensive meter. If moisture is above 40% in your home, use a dehumidifier or air conditioner. This will dry out the air and slow the growth of molds, cockroaches, and house dust mites. Get a pro in to repair any plumbing or roof leaks.
  • Check for pet allergies. If you have pets, get tested to see if they’re causing your problem. Keep them outdoors or find another home for them if you can. At the very least, ban all pets from the bedroom. High levels of cat allergens can stick around for many months in a home or apartment after cats are no longer living there. There are no hypo-allergenic cats or dogs. You can wash your pet every week, but it won’t make much difference in the amount of their allergen you breathe in. Dusts or sprays that claim to reduce pet allergens are not proven effective.
  • Keep your kitchen and bathroom clean and dry to prevent mold and cockroaches. If you’re allergic to cockroaches, and you see signs of them in your home, contact a pest control company. Insect spray won’t do the trick. You have to get rid of all sources of food in your home, even small crumbs in the carpet and oil stains near the stove. Run the exhaust fan when you cook or take a shower to lower the humidity in the room.
  • Choose air filters wisely. Large HEPA room air filters remove smoke and other small particles (like pollen) from a room, but only when the fan is on. They don’t lower humidity or reduce dust mites. Electronic air purifiers create ozone, which can cause airway inflammation.
  • Be careful doing outside work. Gardening and raking can stir up pollens and mold. Wear a HEPA filter mask while outside to reduce the amount of pollen and mold particles that get into your lungs.

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