If your child or teen is using their daily control inhaler as prescribed, following up for routine asthma recheck visits, and utilizing their fast-acting “rescue” inhaler as directed, you’re halfway there in your battle against asthma.
The health care team at Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center offers outstanding pediatric care for children and teens in and around the community of Bel Air, Maryland.
One of our main goals is to partner with you in developing highly effective treatment plans that ensure your child enjoys the best health possible.
When it comes to managing asthma, the best strategies include avoiding asthma triggers whenever possible, many of which share your indoor living space.
Check out these seven tips for asthma-proofing your home when it’s time to close the windows, turn on the heat, and come inside for the winter.
1. Dust regularly and well
Dust mites are tiny insects that live within household dust. They are essentially invisible unless viewed under a microscope but these miniature creatures, specifically their droppings, are one of the most common indoor asthma triggers.
Traditional feather dusters or dry cloths simply spread dust around, so use a barely damp cloth or one that attracts and traps dust during your weekly clean fest. Make sure you pick items up and dust under and around them thoroughly, and then swipe the cloth over the object to keep it as dust free as possible.
2. Switch from carpeting to wood, tile, or other hard-surface flooring
Removing carpeting throughout your home greatly reduces the amount of dust, pollen, and other airborne asthma triggers that naturally settle on the floor, where they are easily trapped in carpet fibers.
If it’s not the right time for a whole-house floor remodel, consider getting rid of the wall-to-wall carpeting in your child’s bedroom. If that’s not possible, be sure to vacuum thoroughly every week with a vacuum that includes a HEPA filtration system.
Other soft surfaces that attract asthma triggers include window coverings, bedding, stuffed animals, and decorative pillows. Wash these items regularly as directed by the manufacturer.
3. Humidify the air in your home
The forced air heat that keeps you warm in the cooler months also dries the air significantly, which can aggravate asthma. Try a humidifier that attaches to your central furnace or several room-sized models that restore moisture to the air. If you can only afford one, place it in your child’s room.
4. Clear out the smoke
Cigarette or other tobacco smoke is hard on the lungs. This is especially true for those who have asthma, and the effects can linger long after the visible smoke has cleared. Make yours a smoke-free home.
Cozy wood fires during the winter months release chemicals into the air that can also make it hard for your child to breathe. Switch your wood burning fireplace to gas, which gives you the same atmosphere without the airborne pollutants.
5. Take it easy on the air freshener
Scented candles, sprays, and other products designed to freshen indoor air often contain fragrances and other chemical substances that can irritate your child’s sensitive airways.
Natural products such as orange peels steeping in a pot of warm water on the stove may not cause problems. Remember, though, that even “natural” potpourri can contain asthma-triggering substances.
6. Remain on mold alert
Mold is another very common asthma trigger that may be present long before it becomes visible. Make sure showers and tubs are cleaned weekly and dried thoroughly between use.
While you’re washing the bedding, consider tossing in shower curtains and decorative towels from the bath. Most liners are washable as well but be sure to check manufacturer guidelines first.
Also be aware of those piles of damp coats, boots, and workout clothes that always seem to gather in corners or by the back door during winter.
7. Clean often but check the fume production
Certain household cleaners emit fumes that irritate airways and lungs. Check the label for asthma or allergy friendly products. Also, if it’s time to turn on your self-cleaning oven, consider keeping your child out of the kitchen until the fumes clear.
For more information about asthma control, or any of the services we offer, call the office or use our online scheduling tool to book an appointment at Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center today.