Asthma Prevention When You Have Allergies
It's important to take steps at home for asthma prevention if you have allergies. Asthma attacks (worsening of asthma symptoms) can be triggered by allergies, which can temporarily increase the inflammation of the airways in a susceptible person. If you can avoid coming in contact with the substance you are allergic to (allergen), you may be able to prevent symptoms of an asthma attack. Here are some tips to help prevent allergic asthma as you avoid some of the most common allergy triggers at home:
Dust Mite Prevention
For prevention of asthma and allergies when you have dust mite allergies, try the following strategies:
- Encase pillows, mattresses, and box springs with allergen-proof, zippered covers.
- Wash all bedding in hot water once a week.
- Don't allow smoking in your house.
- Wear a mask and gloves when cleaning, vacuuming, or painting to limit dust and chemical exposure.
- Vacuum twice a week.
- Limit throw rugs to reduce dust and mold. If you do have rugs, make sure they are washable.
- When possible, choose hardwood floors instead of carpeting. If you must have carpeting, choose low-pile material.
- Avoid dust-collecting Venetian blinds or long drapes. Replace old drapes with window shades instead. Washable curtains should be washed in hot water every two to four weeks.
- 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.
- 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 or cheesecloth. Change these when soiled.
- Pillows and bedding should not contain feathers.
- Keep indoor humidity low (25%-50%). Use a dehumidifier.
- Regularly change filters on heaters and air conditioners.
Mold and Mildew Prevention
For asthma prevention when you have mold and mildew allergies, try the following suggestions:
- 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.
- To clean visible mold, use a cleaning solution containing 5% bleach and a small amount of detergent.
- Wash shower curtains and bathroom tiles with mold-killing solutions.
- Avoid areas where molds may collect, including basements, garages, crawl spaces, barns, and compost heaps. Have someone else clean these areas often.
- Air out damp clothes and shoes (in the house) before storing.
- Remove laundry from the washing machine promptly. Don't leave wet clothes in the washer where mold can quickly grow.
- Don't collect too many indoor plants as soil encourages mold growth.
- Store firewood outside.
- Avoid raking leaves or working with hay or mulch if you are allergic to mold.