Knowing which asthma triggers are at work in your home and eliminating or minimizing them will help you create the best environment for your child. To maintain a healthy indoor environment for your asthmatic, do some of the following:
• Don’t allow anyone to smoke in your home. If you smoke, quit or smoke outside of the home while wearing a smoking jacket. Remove the smoking jacket before entering the home and leave it outside.
• Avoid using a fireplace or wood-burning stove.
• Do not have live house plants. They produce mold and fungus.
• Remove all carpeting and rugs or wash them weekly.
• Use a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter for your A/C unit and change it regularly.
• Vacuum and dust your home at least once a week.
• Avoid heavy curtains (use window shades).
• Cover pillows and mattresses with dust mite proof covers.
• Keep your child’s collection of stuffed animals to a minimum. Stuff animals are a perfect haven for dust mites. Stuffed animals should be washed weekly or sealed in a plastic bag and placed in the freezer for a minimum of 5 hours (dust mites can’t survive more than 5 hours of freezing temperatures).
• Avoid using a humidifier in your child’s room.
• Reduce mold and moisture by fixing leaky pipes, faucets or roofs. Also, make sure bathrooms and basements are well ventilated.
• Wash shower curtains monthly.
• Avoid laundry detergents with strong aromas.
• Avoid hair spray, perfume, or talcum powder.
• Keep pets outdoors, if possible. If not possible, keep them out of your child’s bedroom and off of living room furniture.
• Avoid pests by having home professionally exterminated every few months and avoid leaving food or dirty dishes lying around your kitchen.
• Avoid using plug-ins, scented candles, and incense.
Your child’s doctor can help you identify which triggers may affect your child’s asthma.
Christopher P. Christie, MPH, CRT, AE-C