Beware of Household Chemicals
Many common household products, such as cleaning supplies, paints, pesticides, perfumes, and soaps can be a problem for some children with asthma. Any product with a strong smell releases chemicals into the air. For a child with asthma, these fumes can cause an attack.
Here are some tips if your child’s asthma is triggered by strong smells:
• Keep cleaning products out of your child’s reach, and away from where your child can breathe in the fumes.
• When choosing soaps, shampoos, and detergents, look for those that are unscented or fragrance-free. However, these products may still contain some fragrance, so you'll still need to be careful.
• Make sure your child is not exposed to fumes from harsh cleaners. You can also look for nontoxic options at the store or use hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar.
• Read the labels on all cleaning products and follow the directions.
• When using any type of household cleaner, open a window to allow fresh air into your home.
• Try to clean when your child is not at home, or when he's in another room.
• Don't wear perfumes or colognes.
• If you use art supplies, such as paints, inks or clays, keep them stored with the lids tightly closed when not being used. Chalk dust can also be an asthma trigger for some children.
• Don't use air fresheners or scented candles.
Asthma Triggers: Pets, Cockroaches, and Mold
Many kids with asthma also have allergies to pets, bugs, and mold, which are common asthma triggers. If your child is allergic, you can reduce your child’s exposure to these triggers by following these tips:
• Keep pets off of furniture, beds, and carpets, where their fur or dander can build up. And don’t let pets sleep in your child’s bedroom.
• Make sure your child washes his hands and face after playing with pets.
• Wash sheets and other bedding in hot water at least once a week to limit dust mites. You can also cover pillows and mattresses with special dust-proof covers.
• Limit your use of pesticide sprays when you can. Keep cockroaches out of your home by keeping food in airtight containers or in the fridge and keeping your trash tightly covered. Seal up any cracks where roaches can get in. Use baits and traps to kill roaches. If you do use spray pesticides, keep your child out of the area for several hours after spraying.
• Prevent mold by repairing any leaks or areas of excess moisture in your home, and by replacing any moldy carpets or ceiling tiles.
• Open windows or use exhaust fans when cooking or showering to help prevent mold.
Asthma: Cut the Smoke
Secondhand smoke is a common asthma trigger. For some children, even the smell of smoke on clothing can be enough to cause breathing problems. To keep your home free of smoke, try these tips:
• Don’t allow smoking in your home or car.
• Make sure other caregivers don’t smoke around your child.
• If you or other family members must smoke, do it outside, away from windows or doors, and be sure to wash your hands after smoking. Keep a shawl or blanket outside to reduce the amount of smoke residue on your clothing.