How To Reduce Asthma Triggers When Youre At Home
An asthma trigger is anything that brings on breathing troubles, coughing, breathlessness, wheezing or other similar symptoms for a person diagnosed with asthma. With asthma triggers around, there is also an increased risk of an asthma attack so it is important to reduce these triggers in your environment as much as possible. This is a precaution that can be taken in addition to following your asthma treatment plan that includes taking the asthma medication prescribed by your doctor.
Asthma triggers vary from person to person but some common asthma triggers that can be found indoors at home include secondhand smoke, dust mites, mould, cleaning products, pet dander, cockroaches and other pests, and breathing polluted air coming in from outside. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the triggers in your home:
Chemicals & Scented Products
Asthma attacks can be triggered by exposure to chemical fumes . Many people with asthma are affected by airborne chemicals and fragrances. They may be exposed to them in the home, or even at work.
At home, chemicals and fragrances are reasonably easy to control. If you have paints or other volatile products in your house, you can get rid of them or seal them carefully and place them in a garage or shed. If youre sensitive to heavy perfumes, try not to use products that use them.
Laundry detergent is an often unrecognized source of asthma triggers. Most laundry detergents contain high concentrations of irritating fragrances. Try to use only all-natural, unscented and avoid the use of dryer sheets which can be heavily doused in synthetic fragrance.
Triggers And Lifestyle Changes
What causes your airways to become inflamed, swollen, and easily irritated? A trigger is anything that causes the airway to tighten or twitch. It can be an infection, irritants such as smoke or air pollution, allergens in the air, strenuous exercise, or strong emotions. Each persons asthma is unique and reacts to different triggers.
In most cases, triggers are found in the air we breathe especially allergens, which can cause an allergic reaction that increases inflammation and sets off asthma symptoms. By knowing the allergens that you react to, you can take actions to avoid them and prevent your airways from becoming inflamed and swollen.
Reducing exposure to your asthma triggers is the first important step in keeping your airways open and managing your asthma. Following are the most common things that trigger asthma. Dont be intimidated by the full list most asthma patients react to a few, not all of them.
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Tips To Reduce Exposure To Animal Dander
The best strategy to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction is to avoid contact with the type of animal that causes your allergy. This can be difficult if you have a pet or if you visit another household where there is a pet.
Tips that can help to reduce the risk of exposure to animal allergy triggers include:
- Make sure that furred animals do not enter your home.
- Have a low-allergy pet.
To reduce exposure to house dust mites:
- Wash bed linen each week in water above 60ºC.
- Use blankets and doonas that can be washed.
- Avoid carpet and rugs where possible.
- Vacuum each week using a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air filter.
- Clean hard floors weekly with a damp or anti-static cloth, mop or a steam mop.
- Dust weekly using a damp or anti-static cloth.
- Avoid textured or cloth upholstery on furniture leather, wood and vinyl are best.
- Consider using venetian blinds and flat blinds they are easier to clean than cloth curtains.
- Choose bedding, such as mattress and pillow protectors, that are mite resistant and wash them regularly this may be effective when used in combination with the above.
In general, washing in hot water above 60ºC both kills dust mites and removes the allergic substance the mites produce. Drying items in a hot dryer will kill the mites once the clothes are dry, but will not remove the allergic substance.
Beware Of Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile organic compounds are found in a lot of consumer products. In addition to cigarettes, they are also found in paints, glues, cleaners, disinfectants, air fresheners and adhesives. Youll notice that a few of the products mentioned are often used to clean and disinfect your home. In reality, such products the ones that actually smell pretty nice are causing more harm than good.
Chemical fumes from products like paints, cleaners, scented cosmetics, and laundry supplies can all trigger an asthma attack or worsening of symptoms, informs Asthma.ca, Look for products with the asthma & allergy friendly certification program logo to find products that have been scientifically tested and proven to be more suitable for people with asthma and allergies.
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Ensure Your Child Is At A Healthy Weight
A significant number of new pediatric asthma cases can be directly attributed to childhood obesity. Being overweight can also worsen the symptoms of an asthma attack and result in lower treatment response. What constitutes a healthy weight varies from child to child. However, the Center for Disease Control recommends a childs body mass index to be between the 5th and 85th percentile for their age range and gender.
Tips To Reduce Exposure To Mould Spores
The best strategy for any allergy is to avoid the allergy trigger. For mould spores, this can be difficult, but you can certainly take action to reduce mould in your home.
To reduce mould in your home:
- Treat existing mould on surfaces such as bathroom ceilings and walls with fermented white vinegar solution.
- Prevent water damage on carpets and remove if wet.
- Eliminate sources of dampness leaking pipes or seeping groundwater.
- Change filters regularly in heating and air-conditioning units, and have heating ducts cleaned often.
- Ventilate bathrooms and seal leaks.
- Avoid indoor pot plants, organic mulch and compost.
- Treat rising damp immediately.
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Ways To Reduce Asthma Triggers
A little prep can go a long way toward making your home safe for family members with asthma.
1. Track it
Keep a log of when your child has difficulty breathing so you can look for patterns, Dr. Thakur says. Do they have attacks whenever theyre near your cat? Do most flare-ups strike when theyre in bed? Jot down the details, and share them with your doctor to help identify possible causes of asthma attacks.
2. Get tested
If youre having trouble seeing patterns, ask your doctor about allergy testing. Such tests can help pinpoint whether your kiddo is reacting to pet dander or struggling with mold exposure.
3. Make the bed
Stuffed animals, pillows and blankets can collect a lot of dust . Anything that harbors dust can trigger allergies, Dr. Thakur says. Take steps to asthma-proof the bedroom:
- Wash bedding and pillows frequently in hot water.
- Remove stuffed animals from the bed .
- Use hypoallergenic mattress and pillow covers.
4. Tidy up
You dont have to be a perfect housekeeper, but its good to keep dust levels in check. Vacuum rugs regularly. Mop hard floors to clear dust and pet dander. If cockroaches or mice are a problem, keep food securely stored and look into pest control options.
5. Pet-proof your place
6. Skip the smoke
Breathing second or thirdhand smoke even old smoke on someones clothes can increase the risk of asthma attacks, Dr. Thakur says. Family members who smoke should smoke outside and change their clothes when they come back in.
7. Manage mold
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Some asthma triggers are things that you are allergic to and some just irritate your airways. Triggers can cause asthma symptoms, and can bring on an asthma attack.
- Prevent asthma symptoms and asthma flares by staying away from things that make your asthma worse.
- Asthma triggers are everywhere outside, in businesses, at your work place, schools, everywhere. Triggers can also be found in your home. You can determine what triggers might exist in your home, by assessing your entire home for triggers. Use an Asthma Home Environment Checklist to identify triggers and how to approach removal or reducing exposure to that specific asthma trigger.
- Work with your health care provider to identify what triggers make your asthma worse and how to avoid and/or get rid of them.
- Asthma triggers are not the same for each and every person Ã¢ they are unique to each individual and every persons lungs react differently to each specific trigger.
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Monitoring Carbon Monoxide Levels
People who suffer from asthma are especially vulnerable to carbon monoxide in the home. Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that can poison humans and animals. You cant detect it through touch, taste, or smell, and its toxicity can result in serious respiratory distress and failure, as well as other negative consequences.
When we visit your home for your next HVAC tuneup, ask us about our range of carbon monoxide detectors. These devices alert you to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in your home, which will protect your family and give you peace of mind.
Install a carbon monoxide detector near your bedroom so youll hear it if the alarm goes off in the middle of the night. Keep the detectors out of direct sunlight and away from your HVAC system vents for maximum effectiveness.
About Pets And Asthma
Proteins in your pet’s skin flakes, urine, feces, saliva and hair can trigger asthma. Dogs, cats, rodents and other warm-blooded mammals can trigger asthma in individuals with an allergy to animal dander.
The most effective method to control animal allergens is to not allow animals in the home. If you remove an animal from the home, it is important to thoroughly clean the floors, walls, carpets and upholstered furniture.
Some individuals may find isolation measures to be sufficiently effective. Isolation measures that have been suggested include keeping pets out of the sleeping areas, keeping pets away from upholstered furniture, carpets and stuffed toys, keeping the pet outdoors as much as possible and isolating sensitive individuals from the pet as much as possible.
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Common Allergy Triggers Of Asthma Symptoms
Allergy triggers that can lead to asthma symptoms include:
- animal dander especially from cats and dogs
- mould spores which can be worse at certain times of the year
- pollen from grass, weeds and trees and usually occurring seasonally
- workplace substances such as latex, wood dust or flour.
Food allergies do not usually cause asthma themselves, but people with food allergies can be more susceptible to symptoms of asthma. Also, sulphites in food and drink may cause asthma symptoms.
Consider Immunotherapy Allergy Shots
If your doctor finds that you have allergies, allergy shots may help prevent allergy symptoms and keep your asthma from getting worse. With allergy shots, the doctor injects small doses of allergens under your skin on a regular schedule. Over time, your body may get used to the allergen and respond less when youâre exposed. This can help keep your asthma under control.
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How To Reduce Asthma Triggers In Home Environments
Living with asthma can be frustrating and debilitating. Unfortunately, 1 in 13 people deals with this respiratory condition.
If you or someone in your home suffers from asthma, youre probably familiar with inhalers and nebulizers. These devices are great for calming an attack, but you need to take steps to create a healthy environment in your home. This means getting rid of triggers.
Asthma triggers are materials or conditions that cause an attack. They include things like pollen, smoke, and mold.
Putting in a little extra work to reduce asthma triggers in home settings will allow you and everyone in your family to breathe easy. Lets go over some ways to clear the air.
Foods To Incorporate Into Your Diet
Include the following:
- Foods high in vitamin D, such as milk and eggs
- Carrots and leafy greens, for example, are high in beta carotene.
- Foods high in magnesium, such as spinach and pumpkin seeds
Although there is no special diet for asthma, there are several foods and nutrients that may aid in lung function.
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What Are Asthma Triggers
Triggers are the things like pollen, mold, dust mites, and cigarette smoke that can make your asthma symptoms worse. They can cause coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
People with asthma always have some swelling or irritation in their airways. Coming in contact with triggers can make this problem worse.
What Are Animal Allergens
Animals can be a big asthma trigger. The animal parts that can trigger asthma symptoms are dander , saliva , urine , and feathers.
If your pet is an asthma trigger for you, these tips might help:
- Keep pets outside. At the very least, keep them out of your bedroom.
- Have someone else wash and brush your pet every week.
- Play with your pet, but try not to hug or kiss it.
- Ask other people in your household to wash their hands after touching your pet.
- If you have an animal that lives in a cage, keep it in a room that you don’t spend time in. Someone other than you should clean the cage daily.
- Consider getting cold-blooded pets, such as fish, which are OK for kids with asthma.
If you try all these things but still have lots of asthma flare-ups, you may need to find another home for your pet.
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Interventions To Reduce Exposure To Triggers
Given the important role triggers play in producing asthma exacerbations and inequities, decreasing them has emerged as a major goal of current asthma guidelines.28,29 It is feasible to reduce indoor exposures and doing so improves clinical outcomes. Over the past 2 decades, knowledge of how to reduce exposure to indoor asthma triggers has increased dramatically.7,3041
The Trigger: Tobacco Smoke
Smoke from any burning substance is an irritant that can cause inflammation in the airways, Chupp says. This can lead to coughs and bronchospasm, which is when the airways that connect to your lungs contract and spasm, often causing wheezing and making it hard to breathe.
Secondhand tobacco smoke is one of the most ubiquitous examples of smoke irritants. It also contains over 7,000 chemicals which can further irritate your airways.
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Hazardous Asthma Triggers At Home
An asthma trigger can be a deadly, silent enemy when it comes to your health. It can be any food, smell, or drink that sets off an attack. If you are sensitive to a substance and dont know it, then you will become an unsuspecting victim.
There are many environmental factors that can trigger or set off an asthma attack. A number of studies have found that exposure to one of these factors has a high correlation to developing symptoms.
Ways To Prevent Asthma Attacks At Home
What causes his asthma attacks and how you can stop them.
Since most asthma attacks in children are caused by an allergic reaction, theres a lot that parents can do to prevent or reduce asthma symptoms by limiting their childs exposure to allergens. Here are four major steps:
1. Limit dust exposure. Babies and toddlers spend eight to ten hours a day in their rooms, so removing dust from their immediate area is a great place to start. Heres how to cut down on the dust in your childs room.
- Remove carpets and heavy drapes
- Wash all bedding and stuffed animals frequently in hot water
- Purchase allergen-barrier coverings for the pillows and mattresses
2. Protect your child from tobacco smoke. This is a significant asthma trigger. Some people think that smoking in a different room or outside is safe enough, but tobacco smoke gets into your hair and clothes, and your child then inhales it when you pick him up and snuggle with him. Having everyone in your household quit is the best option. If thats not possible, have smokers wear different shirts and cover their hair when they smoke.
3. Reduce or eliminate the pet factor. Many kids are allergic to pet dander. Its best not to keep a pet at home if it triggers your childs reactions. If thats not possible, at least keep the cat or dog out of the babys room.
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What Are Dust Mites
Dust mites are tiny insects that live in dust. You’ll find lots of them where there is food, in some kinds of bedding, and in rugs. Bedrooms usually have the most dust mites in a house.
You and your family won’t be able to get rid of all the dust mites at home but you can take these steps if they’re a trigger for your asthma:
- Vacuum and dust at least once a week.
- Stay away from feather or down pillows or comforters.
- Every few weeks, wash all of your bedding in hot water and then dry it on a high setting.
- Get special covers for your mattresses, pillows, and boxsprings.
- Get rid of carpeting, especially wall-to-wall or shag carpeting in your room.
- Clean up the clutter in your room. Get rid of knickknacks, picture frames, and stuffed animals that collect dust. If you can’t part with them, store them somewhere other than your room.