Chances are someone you know and love has asthma. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that asthma is increasing every year in the U.S., with one in 12 people suffering from the condition today as opposed to one in 14 people as recently as 2009. Asthma not only limits a person’s lifestyle, it also has an enormous impact on the nation, costing more than $50 billion every year*.
Although medical care is essential for managing asthma, prevention also plays an important role. By being aware of common asthma triggers in the home, you can take steps to make your dwelling a safe and comfortable place for family and friends affected by this all-too-common disease.
Asthma triggers are any substances or environmental conditions that can bring about asthma symptoms—the coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing that occurs when airways become swollen and inflamed. Here are the five most common triggers to look for in your home.
You can help eliminate the warm, moist conditions that allow mold spores to thrive by running a dehumidifier, especially in the basement, and using the bathroom exhaust fan while you shower and for at least 20 minutes afterward. Scour away any visible mold wherever you find it with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide and a scrub brush.
Toasting marshmallows over a crackling campfire is great fun, but wood smoke can be a danger for asthmatics. Secondhand tobacco smoke can also worsen asthma symptoms.
Research shows a strong link between cockroaches and asthma**. The actual symptom-inducing allergen comes from the particles of excrement and debris of decomposing cockroaches, which become airborne. Similar allergens come from dust mites and rodents, such as mice and rats. Reduce your exposure by using allergen-proof pillow and mattress covers, vacuuming, dusting your home and washing your bedding at least once a week.
A dog may be man's best friend, but the dander and saliva of a dog can trigger asthma symptoms. The same is true for cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and other furry friends that are common household pets. Reduce your exposure to animal dander by keeping pets off the bed and out of areas where you spend the most time. Even better? Also install a Filtrete™ Allergen Defense Filter, which features 3-in-1 technology from 3M to pull in and trap particles that affect indoor air quality, such as airborne pet dander, dust mites and mold spores, while letting cleaner air flow through.
Many cleaning products, personal care items, candles and scent diffusers contain fragrance chemicals that can irritate the airways and trigger asthma symptoms. Whenever possible, select fragrance-free products and avoid the use of standard air fresheners and similar odor-reducing products. Rather than mask unpleasant odors, try to eliminate odor-producing pollutants at the source. Filtrete™ Odor Reduction Filters can help freshen your indoor air by removing odor-producing particles from pets, cooking, mildew and smoke.