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Asthma Triggers


Clear Your Home of Asthma Triggers

Secondhand Smoke
Asthma can be triggered by the smoke from the burning end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar and the smoke breathed out by a smoker.

  • Choose not to smoke in your home or car and do not allow others to do so either.

Dust Mites
Dust mites are too small to be seen but are found in every home. Dust mites live in mattresses, pillows, carpets, fabric-covered furniture, bedcovers, clothes and stuffed toys.

  • Wash sheets and blankets once a week in hot water.
  • Choose washable stuffed toys, wash them often in hot water and dry thoroughly. Keep stuffed toys off beds.
  • Cover mattresses and pillows in dust-proof (allergen-impermeable) zippered covers.

Pets
Your pet’s skin flakes, urine and saliva can be asthma triggers.

  • Consider keeping pets outdoors or even finding a new home for your pets, if necessary.
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom and other sleeping areas at all times, and keep the door closed.
  • Keep pets away from fabric-covered furniture, carpets and stuffed toys.

Molds
Molds grow on damp materials. The key to mold control is moisture control. If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of excess water or moisture. Lowering the moisture also helps reduce other triggers, such as dust mites and cockroaches.

  • Wash mold off hard surfaces and dry completely. Absorbent materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, with mold may need to be replaced.
  • Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water.
  • Keep drip pans in your air conditioner, refrigerator and dehumidifier clean and dry.
  • Use exhaust fans or open windows in kitchens and bathrooms when showering, cooking or using the dishwasher.
  • Vent clothes dryers to the outside.
  • Maintain low indoor humidity, ideally between 30-50 percent relative humidity. Humidity levels can be measured by hygrometers, which are available at local hardware stores.

Pests
Droppings or body parts of pests such as cockroaches or rodents can be asthma triggers.

  • Do not leave food or garbage out.
  • Store food in airtight containers.
  • Clean all food crumbs or spilled liquids right away.
  • Try using poison baits, boric acid (for cockroaches) or traps first before using pesticidal sprays.

If sprays are used:

  • Limit the spray to infested area.
  • Carefully follow instructions on the label.
  • Make sure there is plenty of fresh air when you spray, and keep the person with asthma out of the room.

House Dust
House dust may contain asthma triggers.

  • Remove dust often with a damp cloth and vacuum carpet and fabric covered furniture to reduce dust build-up.
  • Allergic people should leave the area being vacuumed.
  • Using vacuums with high efficiency filters or central vacuums may be helpful.