If you have asthma, it is important to know what your triggers are to be prepared for an asthma attack. Everyone’s triggers vary, but here are six of the most common household triggers:
1. Pets – Cats and dogs may be fluffy and adorable, but if you have asthma they can be a major trigger, even those with hair instead of fur.To minimize the risk of an attack if you do have pets, keep pets off furniture and out of the bedroom, and vacuum carpets and furniture often.
2. Chemical Irritants – Chemical irritants can be found in many household products, such as cleaners, paint, adhesives, pesticides, cosmetics or air fresheners. To reduce exposure to these irritants, try to make sure windows and doors are open, and exhaust fans are on when using these products. Also consider alternate products with natural ingredients.
3. Mold – Mold grows in damp environments such as shower curtains, bath items, tubs, basins and tiles, and can be harmful for your lungs. Clean up any mold you see with soap and water. Use exhaust fans or open windows to avoid moisture buildup when cooking or showering. Also consider an air conditioner or dehumidifier to reduce humidity which breeds mold.
4. Dust Mites – Dust mites can live in sheets, blankets, pillows, mattresses, carpets and stuffed animals. To cut down on dust mites in your home, vacuum all surfaces, especially those susceptible to dust mites. Wash bed sheets, blankets and stuffed animals often on the hottest water setting and dry completely.
5. Insects and Pests – Cockroaches, mice and other pests leave droppings that can trigger asthma attacks. Keeping your home clean, especially the kitchen can prevent these creatures from entering your home. Clean dishes, crumbs and spills, making sure counters, sinks, tables and floors are clean. Keep food in air-tight containers and cover trash cans to avoid attracting pests.
6. Wood Smoke – Smoke from burning wood is made up of harmful gases and small particles, so avoid burning wood in your home, if possible. If you must burn wood in your home, make sure you are burning dry wood – never burn garbage, plastics or pressure-treated wood. Have your wood stove and/or chimney inspected every year to ensure there is no build-up, or gaps and cracks. A HEPA filter in the room you use the wood stove or chimney in could help reduce particle pollution as well.