Avoid lung irritants for asthma | MyAsthmaTeam

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People with asthma have airway passages that swell and narrow during an asthma attack. Although asthma triggers vary for different people, common substances at home can trigger many attacks.

In order to avoid infections, it is important to take steps to avoid breathing in household and environmental irritants as much as possible. By making some changes to your lifestyle and home, you may gain significant relief from asthma symptoms and breathe easier.

Keep your house as clean and free from dust as possible. If possible, do not do the cleaning yourself. If you do, try to use eco-friendly cleaners or natural products like vinegar and baking soda to avoid breathing harmful chemicals. You can also wear a respirator mask to protect you from dust and fumes while you clean.

To prevent mold and mildew from growing, keep bathrooms clean and change sponges regularly. Clean your showerhead twice a year; it can harbor bacteria dangerous only to people with damaged airways. You can install ceiling fans to promote better ventilation and keep surfaces dry. Consider purchasing a humidity meter and a humidifier to keep humidity below 40 percent. In the kitchen, make sure that the fan and vents work properly, and keep windows open when cooking.

If you can choose the floor covering in your home, bare hardwood floors harbor much less dust than rugs or carpets, especially wall-to-wall carpeting. New carpets may off-gas harmful fumes for long periods after they are installed.

You may find it beneficial to purchase an air filter. If you do, a HEPA filter is safest. Other types of filters may give off ozone, a potential irritant. Clean or replace filters regularly. Cleaning the air ducts of your heating and cooling system may also reduce airborne irritants. Wood fires in the fireplace, kerosene heaters, and candles also produce smoke that may compromise your health. If you must use these items, make sure the space is well-ventilated.

If you use an inhaler, nebulizer, or oxygen therapy, keep your equipment clean to help prevent infections.

Pets contribute dust and dander to the home environment. Have dogs and cats groomed twice a month, and try to keep them out of your bedroom.

There are many sources for lung irritants outside the home as well. Avoid going out during extreme weather, high pollen count days, if there is a large fire burning nearby, when pollution is especially bad (if you live in the city), or during agricultural processes that add large amounts of dust to the air (if you live in a rural area). Avoid construction sites and underground parking garages as much as possible.

For more details, visit:

Asthma: Triggers — Centers for Disease Control and Preventions

Reduce Asthma Triggers — American Lung Association

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