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Easier Breathing Through Cleaner Indoor Air

Clean indoor air is just as important as outdoor air and parents of asthmatic children know all too well how important it is to keep the air quality at home at its best.

Here are some pointers on how to maintain cleaner, fresher air, indoors!

Is your indoor air safe?

Indoor air may look clean enough, but there may be irritants in the air that can be a threat to asthmatic children. Cigarette smoke, perfumes, aerosol sprays, cleaning product residues, and even fumes from paint or cooking gas are some of the irritants found in many homes. Even scented candles or fresh newsprint have been known to be triggers for some children with asthma. The following are some of the most common triggers and ways to deal with them to significantly improve the quality of the air in your home.

Dust Mites

Dust mites, a very common asthma trigger, are microscopic bugs that live in household dust. Their diet consists primarily of the dead skin cells that we shed daily. They’re present almost everywhere, from upholstered furniture to floor rugs and they flourish especially on human bedding.

  • Remove any carpeting, especially wall-to-wall carpeting, from your child’s room and other spaces where he or she spends a lot of time. If you have area rugs, make sure they’re washable and clean them weekly in hot water.
  • Vacuuming and dusting regularly will help keep dust mites to the minimum in your home. Use a special small-pore filter bag with your vacuum. The best option will be one with a HEPA filter. When you dust, use a damp cloth to avoid spreading dust mite particles in the air.
  • Cover mattresses, pillows, and other bedding or seating items with mite-proof covers (available from retailers who specialize in hypoallergenic products). Also, be sure to regularly wipe down the covers. Avoid feather or down pillows or comforters; choose bedding made with synthetic materials instead. Wash all of your child’s bedding in hot water at least once a week and then dry them using the highest setting on your dryer, or let them dry in the open under the afternoon sun.
  • Keeping your home clutter-free will also help. Keep your child’s collection of stuffed animals to a minimum. Any plush toys that your little one just can’t live without should be washed frequently in hot water (if they don’t contain batteries) and then dried on your dryer’s highest setting. Or, seal these toys in a plastic bag and place them in the freezer for at least five hours or overnight (dust mites can’t survive more than five hours of freezing temperatures).

Mold

These microscopic plant-like organisms can grow on many surfaces and they tend to flourish in damp places like bathrooms and basements. Molds reproduce by sending spores into the air – triggering asthma when inhaled.

  • To reduce moisture and mold, be sure that there are no leaky pipes, faucets, or roofs in your home. Clean and repair roof gutters regularly too.
  • Ensure that your bathrooms and basement are well ventilated. Install and use exhaust fans to help lower moisture in these areas. If you have any damp closets, clean them thoroughly and leave a 100-watt bulb on all the time to increase the temperature and dry out the air.
  • Clean any visible mold or mildew with a solution that’s one part chlorine bleach to 10 parts water. Don’t paint or caulk over moldy surfaces without cleaning them first. When painting bathrooms or other damp areas of your house, use anti-mildew paint.

Pets and Triggers

Animals are significant asthma triggers – as many as 30% of people with asthma are allergic to one or more animals. Allergic symptoms are caused by the body’s reaction to a specific protein found in the animal’s saliva, urine, or dander (tiny flakes of dead skin).

Short of getting rid of a pet, try these steps

  • Keep pets outside. If you can’t, at least keep them out of your child’s bedroom and playroom.
  • Wash and groom your pet every week.
  • Make sure your child doesn’t play with or touch your pet and keep him or her away from the litter box if you have a cat.
  • Wash your hands after touching your pet.
  • If you have a pet that lives in a cage, keep it in a room that your child doesn’t spend time in regularly. Also, have someone other than your child clean the cage daily.

Cleaner air, less asthma triggers

Trigger-proofing your home can seem overwhelming, especially if your child has multiple asthma triggers. The fact is, you won’t be able to eliminate all triggers. Although you want your home to be safe for your child, you can’t place it in a bubble wrap.

Your doctor can help you decide which steps are necessary. In the meantime, here are five main tips to try to reduce asthma triggers:

  • Put mattress covers on any bed your child sleeps in.
  • Get rid of carpeting.
  • Reduce dust.
  • Get rid of any pest infestations.
  • Don’t permit smoking anywhere in your home.

We all deserve to breathe in clean air all the time! So, instead of waiting for polluted indoor air to take its toll on us, take the initiative to improve the quality of it in your home for your family’s health and well-being!

 

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