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Allergies and Asthma

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What Do I Do If I Have Allergies and Asthma?

If you have allergies and asthma, avoid the substance you are allergic to. Here are some tips to help you avoid some of the most common allergens and prevent asthma attack symptoms.

Dust Mites

  • Encase pillows, mattresses, and box springs with allergen-proof, zippered covers.
  • Wash all bedding in hot water once a week.
  • Non-carpeted flooring is best. If you cannot get rid of your carpeting, vacuum often with an HEPA filter. 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.
  • Avoid curtains and drapes. Use plain window shades instead of mini-blinds. Washable curtains should be washed in hot water every two to four weeks.
  • Dust all surfaces with a damp cloth often, including lampshades and windowsills.
  • 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. Change these when soiled.
  • Pillows and bedding should not contain feathers.
  • Keep indoor humidity low (below 50%). Use a dehumidifier if needed.
  • Regularly change filters on heaters and air conditioners.

Mold and Mildew

  • Air out damp, humid areas frequently. Run a dehumidifier to keep humidity between 35% and 45%.
  • 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.
  • To clean visible mold use a cleaning solution containing bleach ( one ounce per quart of water).

Insects

Many homes and apartments have cockroaches and other insects. Some people with asthma are allergic to a protein in their droppings. 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.
  • Because cockroaches thrive in high humid environment, fix water leaks in and around your home.
  • Cover food in lidded or sealed containers. Clean dishes after eating. Sweep floors after you have eaten.

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