How to Reduce Asthma Triggers at Home

Did you know that indoor air is often substantially more polluted than outdoor air? Per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), your indoor air pollutant levels could be two to five times higher than outdoor levels. If that isn’t enough to cause alarm, perhaps knowing that in some cases, indoor air pollutant levels can be more than 100 times higher will. Since Americans spend nearly 90 percent of their times indoors, it’s no wonder so many people with Asthma can’t find solace, not even in their own homes. We’re here to help you locate those pesky indoor allergens and irritants so that you can get a handle on them and keep your loved one from having an asthma episode or attack.

If you’ve had an asthma episode or attack or have witnessed someone who has, you know precisely how scary it can be. Triggers vary from person to person, however, it’s important to cover as much ground when trying to mitigate allergens and irritants.

Treating Asthma Allergens

Allergens are substances that, when inhaled, swallowed, touched or injected, cause an allergic reaction, which can trigger asthma. Should someone with allergic asthma have contact with a bothersome allergen, their immune system will respond by releasing a substance called immunoglobulin E (or IgE), which can cause swelling in the airways if too much is released.

Six common allergens known to cause asthma episodes or attacks:

  • Dust Mites
  • Cockroaches
  • Pollens
  • Molds
  • Pet Dander
  • Rodents

Keeping your home clean and the allergens at bay will make your home a much more comfortable – and safe – place to be. We highly recommend talking with your doctor too, as they will be able to devise an effective treatment plan. You may only be sensitive to a few of the allergens, so you’ll want to allocate your time towards treating those.

Here are some helpful tips from the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAI) on how to reduce indoor allergens:

Dust Mites:

  • Encase your mattresses, box springs, and pillows in allergen-proof fabric covers or airtight, zippered plastic covers.
  • Wash your bedding weekly in hot water. You can also purchase allergen-proof bed sheets pillow covers.
  • Keep the humidity level in your home low with either a humidifier or an air conditioner.
  • If possible, remove wall-to-wall carpeting and replace with hardwood, tile, or linoleum flooring.

Pet Allergens:

  • Keep pets out of bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Vacuum often, and if possible, replace carpeting with hardwood, tile or linoleum flooring.
  • If you have a small rodent for a pet, clean their cage often as urine is the source of allergens from rabbits, hamsters, mice and guinea pigs.

Cockroaches:

  • Seal off all areas where roaches can enter your home. This includes crevices, wall cracks, and windows.
  • If you have any water leaks in your home, repair them immediately, as roaches need to water to survive.
  • Hire an exterminator to complete a thorough removal of the insect.
  • Properly store away food items, including your pet’s.
  • Vacuum often, and if possible, replace carpeting with hardwood, tile or linoleum flooring.
  • Take out the garbage every day and keep counters clean. Don’t leave any dishes in the sink either.

Molds:

  • Using water, detergent and a little bleach (if necessary), wipe away mold found in basements, bathrooms and anywhere with leaks. Do not mix this cleaner with any other chemical or product. Dry the area completely.
  • For areas with large-scale mold, hire a licensed professional to effectively remediate it.
  • Hire a licensed plumber to repair any leaks coming from your pipes.
  • Keep your home properly ventilated at all times.

Read these other resources for treating your indoor allergens:

Treating Indoor Irritants

Irritants aren’t substances that you can be allergic to; however, they can still induce an asthmatic reaction by inflaming one’s airways. It’s impossible to eradicate irritants, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still take measures to mitigate them.

6 common irritants known to cause asthma episodes or attacks:

  • Smoke from cigarettes
  • Air pollution – smog, ozone
  • Wood fires
  • Charcoal grills
  • Dust
  • VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) – found in cleaning products, detergents, paint, aerosols, etc.

Read Asthma & Allergy Friendly’s “Guide for Reducing Allergens and Irritants in the Home” for tips on improving your home’s indoor air quality. This brochure goes into great depth, explaining which materials are best to use when building or remodeling a home, which cleaning products are safest, room-to-room cleaning, and how to treat older homes that have asbestos and lead paint. You don’t want to miss out on this incredibly beneficial resource!

Categories: