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Asthma Health Center

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Control Asthma Triggers at Home

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Even the cleanest homes can have common asthma triggers, like dust mites, molds, pollens, pets, cockroaches, and household chemicals. But you have many ways to control these potential problems and prevent asthma flares.

How can I protect against dust mites?

1. Put pillows, mattresses, and box springs inside allergen-proof, zippered covers.

2. Wash all bedding in hot water about once a week.

3. Non-carpeted flooring is best. If you can’t get rid of your carpets, vacuum often with a multi-layer, allergen-proof vacuum bag. It’s best to get someone else to do the vacuuming and stay clear of the area while it’s happening. But if you have to do your own sweeping, wear a mask while you work. If your child has asthma, don’t vacuum while she’s in the room. You can also buy products that get dust mites out of carpets. Ask your asthma care team to recommend some.

4. Regularly change filters on heaters and air conditioners.

5. Replace heavy, lined curtains or drapes with washable window coverings. Wash them in hot water. Use plain window shades instead of mini-blinds.

6. Dust often and everywhere, including lampshades and windowsills, with a damp cloth.

7. Keep clutter under control. Store toys and books in closed bookshelves, drawers, or closets.

8. Replace traditional stuffed animals with those you can wash.

9. Put all clothing in drawers and closets, and keep them closed.

10. Cover air ducts with filters or cheesecloth. Change them when they get dirty.

11. Don’t buy pillows and bedding made with feathers.

How do I stop mold and mildew?

1. Air out damp, humid areas often. Run a dehumidifier to keep humidity between 25% and 50%.

2. Use air conditioners when you can.

3. Clean bathrooms regularly with products that kill and prevent mold. Use exhaust fans to vent steam after a hot shower. Don’t put carpet the bathroom.

4. Keep indoor plants out of bedrooms.

5. When you paint your home, add mold inhibitor to the paint to prevent mold from growing.

6. Avoid places where outdoor molds can grow, such as wet leaves or garden debris.

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