8 Smart ways to asthma-proof your home

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8 Smart ways to asthma-proof your home

Fighting off the triggers that precipitate an asthma attack begins in your home. If someone in your family has asthma, making your home a healthier place by getting rid of or removing the things that can trigger an attack can go a long way in reducing a potentially serious scenario.

Having an asthma attack can be a scary experience.  The struggle to breathe in air, chest tightening and quickened breathing is comparable to drowning in air or the feeling of a cloud in your lungs.   This chronic lung condition is where the air passages narrow and become inflamed making breathing very difficult and is a situation very few want to happen again.

Even though asthma may be a lifelong occurrence, there are ways to help reduce or prevent the frequency of the terrifying attacks.    The more these tips are put into place in your everyday life, the better chance asthma attacks can be few and far between.

1.  Limit dust mite exposure

Dust mites are tiny bugs invisible to the naked eye that like to hide in mattresses, carpet and upholstered furniture.  Even though they do not bite, they do leave droppings behind in the dust that can trigger an asthma attack.   Tips on reducing exposure to dust mites include:

·      Wash sheets, bedding and fabric curtains weekly in hot water

·      Use window blinds that can be cleaned

·      Remove carpeting from bedrooms

·      Use allergy-proof covers on pillows and mattresses

·      Use a dehumidifier to reduce excess moisture and to prevent mold

·      Wet-mop rather than sweep

·      Pick up clothes off the floor and put away in closets and drawers

2.  Do not allow pets in bedrooms or on furniture

A common cause of an asthma attack trigger is pet dander.  Even though we may regard our pet as a beloved member of the family, they should not be allowed in bedrooms and need to be trained not to be on furniture.  Also, if you are going to keep a pet indoors, it is advisable to consider pets that are hypoallergenic to reduce an asthma attack.

3.  Exercise smartly

Almost everyone who has asthma will experience an attack during or following particularly intense exercise.  However, exercise is still important for good health and many people with asthma report that getting into good physical shape can actually make breathing easier reducing sensitivity to asthma triggers.

Some suggestions on how to reduce exercise-induced asthma include exercising indoors where the climate is more controlled, do a warm up before exercising, and on cold days be sure to wear a cold-weather face mask or wrap a scarf around your mouth and nose trapping in warm, moist air around your face.

4.  Reduce mold and mildew in your home

Common places for mold and mildew to grow are persistently damp places such as basements, around the kitchen sink and in bathrooms.  Take these steps to reduce mold and mildew:

·      Frequently wash any moldy or mildewed surface with detergent and water and dry thoroughly afterwards.

·      Do not have carpet in areas that are damp

·      Reduce indoor humidity to less than 50% by increasing ventilation and using a dehumidifier

5.  Reduce exposure to pollen

There is no way to completely avoid pollen as it is given off by seed plants and trees during the spring, summer, and fall.  Rather than having to live in a bubble, here are some ways to reduce your exposure to this powdery substance:

·      When coming in from outside, remove your shoes and coats to avoid carrying in pollen from outdoors

·      Taking a shower after being outdoors can help remove allergens such as pollen from your hair and skin that can contaminate bedding

·      Have an air conditioner that filters the outdoor air and cools the inside so that window can be kept shut on hot summer days 

6.  Eliminate rodents and roaches

Rodents such as mice and rats make allergens in their urine while roaches contain allergens in their saliva, eggs, and waste, all of which can trigger an asthma attack.  If you live in a place that has rodents or roaches, use these tips to get rid of them for good:

·      Hire a professional exterminator to remove both rodents and roaches

·      Keep food and trash in covered containers

·      Keep floors and countertops clean

·      Seal all cracks in walls, floor, and doors

·      Clean dishes after each meal

·      Store food in airtight containers

·      Clean the kitchen sink and countertops frequently to remove any trace of food or standing water.

7.  Have a no-smoking rule in your home

One of the worst offenders triggering an allergy attack is cigarette smoke, including secondhand smoke.  Babies who live in homes of people who smoke are at a higher risk of developing asthma.  Make your home a smoke-free zone by asking anyone who wishes to smoke to smoke outdoors. 

8.  Avoid burning wood in your home

Burning wood in a fireplace or woodstove may seem cozy but for those suffering from asthma, breathing in too much smoke can cause an asthma attack.  To avoid these possible life-threatening attacks, it is best not to burn wood indoors.