Although asthma treatments have evolved a lot in the past decade, allowing those who suffer from it to keep it under control and lead normal lives, it remains a chronic condition that requires lifestyle changes. When suffering from asthma, your respiratory system is much more vulnerable to allergens and things such as dust, smoke, even strong scents can trigger an attack. So, to prevent this, you have to create an asthma-safe environment at home and eliminate all asthma triggers. Of course, some people are more sensitive than others and only need just a few adjustments but, to be safe, these are the changes you should do.
How to increase indoor air quality
For people suffering from asthma, breathing clean, quality air is essential. If the average person can live in a poorly ventilated, or even polluted house for weeks without showing signs of discomfort, if you have asthma you will know right away that the air isn’t good for you. According to the American Lung Association, the biggest indoor air quality threats for people with asthma are mold and pollution. Older houses are particularly vulnerable, because they were built using materials and substances that have since been banned. Unless you can get in touch with the original owner who built the house, the only way to make sure that your home doesn’t have traces of lead, asbestos, silica and PCBs is to hire a professional company and have them test indoor air quality. Based on their findings, you can take the right measures. Although the test may cost quite a bit, if you have asthma it’s very important that you do this to pinpoint the root of the problem. If the source of the pollution comes from within the walls, no matter how many changes you make elsewhere, you will still experience unpleasant symptoms.
After you get rid of potential toxic chemicals in your home, you can maintain indoor air quality by getting these handy appliances:
• Air filters
• Air purifiers
• Humidifiers and de-humidifiers
• Extractor fans
Insulation – a long term investment if you have asthma
People associate insulation with thermal comfort and energy savings and while these are perfectly valid, great benefits, they are not the only ones. In fact, if you insulate your home, you’ll also get rid of a major nuisance: mold. Present in hot, humid, poorly insulated spaces, mold is a great inconvenience for people with asthma, causing a number of symptoms that range from sneezing and coughing all the way to asthma attacks. In general, mold appears in damp rooms such as the bathroom and basement or in areas with heat transfers. For example, if the windows aren’t airtight, there will be a lot of condensation and in time, that leads to mold. Insulating your house creates a dry, air tight environment, which means no mold. Temporary solutions, such as scrubbing mold off the walls are not only dangerous, but also ineffective. So, if you’re battling with asthma and want to make a good long-term investment, choose insulation, because it will solve a lot of your problems.
A clean home is absolutely essential if you have asthma. Any dust pileup will aggravate your condition and cause more symptoms, so you have to be very diligent about cleaning. However, as all asthma sufferers know, finding asthma-friendly cleaning products can be a bit hard to find, so here’s how you should tackle this chore.
In the kitchen, you should use a fan to remove fumes faster and prevent prolonged exposure. You should also use this fan in the bathroom, to keep humidity levels in check.
Invest in a HEPA filter vacuum, because it doesn’t send dust particles back into the air and, when you’re removing the dust with a cloth, make sure you dampen it in advance to prevent dust from rising.
You should also try to avoid clutter. Not for aesthetic purposes, but because objects tend to gather a lot of dust and this will affect you in time. Try to keep surfaces as neat and free as possible. They’ll be easier to wipe and you will not be exposed to so many allergens.
As for cleaning products, this is a more complicated topic. Experts advise people with asthma to be very careful what products they use, because they could end up aggravating their symptoms. Whenever possible, use a damp cloth, without applying anything else on it. when you do have to use something stronger, use either extra sensitive products or something homemade. For example, use baking soda instead of air fresheners and water and vinegar instead of window washer fluid. You can also use water and vinegar to clean floors. As far as laundry goes, stick to fragrance free detergent and avoid using fabric softener.
Extra tips to increase your comfort
The extra tips will help you reduce exposure to harmful substance and breathe clean air every day:
• Avoid keeping strongly scented flowers such as lilies and lilac in small and closed spaces;
• Do not allow people to smoke inside your house; if you are a smoker yourself, smoke outside
• Keep your rooms well aired by opening the windows every day. If you live in the city and opening the windows means letting in toxic car fumes, then open the windows early in the morning, when the air is cleaner. You can also do this to avoid any pollen entering your home.
• Keep the windows open whenever you’re decorating, doing housework or moving furniture around.
• For Christmas, buy an artificial tree instead of a natural one
• Twice a year, clean the air conditioning filter and the house air ducts
• Pillows with feather filling are a big no, and they should be replaced with synthetic fiber filling
• Books gather a lot of dust, so keep them in a separate room, not the bedroom
• If you have a child who suffers from asthma, don’t buy them too many stuffed animals, because they increase the risk of an allergic reaction.