If you have asthma, your home can either be a safe haven or one of your worst enemies. The air inside our homes is polluted from chemicals present in myriad items such cleaning products, air fresheners and furniture—in fact, the air quality indoors can be worse than outdoors; each room is rife with potential triggers, such as dust and mold. Creating an asthma-friendly home is a key factor in reducing attacks and managing your condition. Here are some tips to do just that.
Seal It Up
Simply making your home better equipped to keep potential asthma triggers on the outside where they belong can make a world of difference. Miniscule particles of pollen and other irritants can easily make their way into a poorly sealed window or door, cracks, holes and vents a. Sealing up these problem areas will also keep mice and cockroaches from entering the house—their droppings easily enter the air and can be a major problem for asthmatics. This strategy is also inexpensive—caulk, weather stripping and screens cost little and you can easily make these fixes yourself. Do not underestimate the power of this seemingly simple fix.
When it comes to cleaning and your asthma, one of your top priorities is keeping dust levels low; feather dusters are great if your main concern is making items in the house look cleaner, but if you have asthma, they will not help your cause since they are not actually getting rid of dust, but just moving it around. You want to wipe down surfaces with a slightly moist cloths or dry cloths specially designed to trap dust and other substances. Cleaning products can be another bone of contention when it comes to asthma; most are loaded with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be very irritating to the body—the lungs especially—when inhaled. Opt for products made with all natural ingredients or make your own on the cheap—things like baking soda, vinegar and lemon make great natural cleaners. While on the subject of VOCs, you may also want to avoid using commercial air fresheners—they are loaded with them. Since it is unlikely that you can completely eliminate every potential irritant through cleaning, changing products and other measures, you might consider getting an air purifier. We’d recommend you look around at the top rated air purifiers to find one that meets your needs before biting the bullet to buy one.
Vacuum floors, furniture and mattresses weekly—ideally, your vacuum will have a HEPA filter; once a week, wash bedding in water that is at least 130 degrees to kill dust mites and their eggs; this same tip goes for any washable toys that may be in the house. If a toy cannot be washed, once a week, put it in the freezer for 24 hours and then rinse with cold water to get rid of any dead mites. Put clothes that need to be washed in the hamper immediately to minimize pollen moving through the house.
Reducing Mold Growth
While it is not possible to completely eliminate mold spores from your home, you can take steps to significantly reduce the growth of this major asthma trigger. If you have leaky pipes in the bathroom or sink, get them fixed. Wash ‘’show’’ towels at least once a week to get rid of mold spores. Immediately wipe down the counters in the bathroom to prevent puddles of water that can contribute to mold growth. Run the fan or vent while showering to cut down on the formation of mold-loving moisture. Wash bathroom floor mats once a week. When cleaning areas particularly prone to mold growth, use products that specifically target mold rather than general products.
Keep humidity levels in the home between 30 and 60 percent; you may also want to have a technician check your cooling unit—an improperly sized unit or one that is not properly circulating the air can raise humidity levels in the home.
[box_light]Kelli Cooper, writing for Rabbit Air, is a freelance writer who specializes in health and wellness content.[/box_light]
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