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  • 4 Rooms Where Asthma Triggers Lurk

    Fight these triggers on the home front room by room.

    Leave the bed unmade to reduce dust mites

    When you suffer from asthma, even the cleanest dwelling can pose serious problems. Knowing which triggers lie in wait—and where they tend to hide in your home—can get you one step closer to worry-free breathing.

    Here’s a list of top culprits by room and ways to keep them in check:

    • Kitchen: Mold, insects, cleaning products and built-up moisture

      Mold loves dark, damp places. Insects live for crumbs and spills. Your asthma detests all of the above, so of course you practice daily kitchen hygiene. But to keep from adding to your misery with toxic chemicals and soapy film from cleaners, make sure to:

      • Stock up on natural cleaning solutions. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, cleaners containing harsh chemicals may trigger your asthma symptoms*.
      • Mix your own cleaner: one part white vinegar to three parts water. It’s cheap, natural and not nearly as harsh as chemical solutions. Note: Do not use the vinegar solution on granite, marble, stone or hardwood.
    • Bathroom: Mold, high moisture and particles from cosmetic and personal hygiene products

      It’s easy to over clean a bathroom in an effort to keep bacteria and mold at bay. Go ahead and get sanitary, but be sure to:

      • Use natural cleaning products to avoid aggravating symptoms.
      • Change hand towels frequently.
      • Hang bath towels and washcloths to dry, so they don’t harbor moisture.
      • Do a monthly full-room check for cracks and crevices (e.g., in grout, plastic products and porcelain) where mold or moisture can easily accumulate.
    • Bedroom: Dust mites, dust mites, dust mites

      Many asthmatic wars get waged between the sheets (and blankets and mattresses), where dust mites dwell. To give your airways a fighting chance:

      • The Mayo Clinic recommends wash bedding at least once a week on a cycle hot enough (130F or higher) to kill the tiny beasts**.
      • “Unmake” your bed in the morning, giving the covers a chance to air out following a night of built-up body heat and sweat.
      • Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to manage dust on items and surfaces you can’t easily wash, such as upholstery, curtains and carpets. To get the HEPA rating, a filter must trap 99.97 percent of small particles.
    • Living room and common areas: Pet dander and irritants tracked in from the outdoors

      If you live with animals, you’re on the hook for a little extra cleanup. Even “hypoallergenic” pets add to the balance of skin and hair cells deposited on furniture and other surfaces. Don’t forget to:

      • Remove settled dander and dirt with a HEPA filter vacuum.
      • If yours isn’t already a shoe-free household, try the concept on for size. If you don’t, you’re tracking in some serious pollution with your footwear, from construction materials and animal droppings to vehicle fluids and exhaust.
      • Hold your furry companions to the same high standards: Wipe down paws with warm, soapy water at the door.