Staying Safe at Home: Asthma


What is Asthma

Asthma is a common lung disease that affects the smaller airways and causes episodes of breathing difficulty. For people with asthma the airways are often inflamed. When people with asthma are exposed to environmental and other triggers, further symptoms such as constricted airways and increased mucus production emerge. These conditions will likely lead to more symptoms including chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing.

Asthma may affect both children and adults. While the cause of asthma is not fully known, genetics and environmental factors are involved. While it is difficult to control environmental factors, we can often control environmental factors to help people with asthma breathe easier.

Some common asthma triggers found in the home include:

  • Cigarette Smoke
  • Pollen that blows in from outdoors
  • Dust and dust mites
  • Mold
  • Moisture
  • Chemicals such as cleaners, paints, adhesives, pesticides, cosmetics or air fresheners
  • Nitrogen Dioxide from gas-burning appliances
  • Pet dander
  • Fragrances
  • Pest (cockroaches, mice, rats)

By controlling these triggers in the home, we can help those with asthma suffer less.  Some are easier than others. Changing behaviors like smoking outside instead of inside, using green cleaning, and not vacuuming and raising dust when children with asthma are around are a few ways.

Other changes can be more challenging, such as fixing water leaks, controlling humidity, and eliminating pests like cockroaches and mice. That’s where the Healthy Homes Coalition comes in—helping families identify and prioritize asthma triggers in the home, then figuring out how to get them fixed. Call us and we will see what we can do to help.

More on tips on preventing an Asthma Attack

  • Use your air conditioner. Air conditioners reduce the amount of airborne pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds that find its way indoors. Air conditioners also lower indoor humidity, thus reducing the exposure to dust mites that need humid environments in which to live. If you don’t have air conditioning, try to keep your windows closed during pollen season.
  • Reduce clutter, thereby making it easier to clean the dust out of your home.
  • Use mattress and pillow covers designed to keep dust mites out of your bedding.
  • Remove carpeting and replace with linoleum of wood flooring for easier cleaining.
  • Use a dehumidifier if the humidity in your home or basement is above 50%. 
  • Run your bathroom and kitchen fans to vent out moisture and fumes.
  • If you have mold, find out the source of moisture and repair any leaks, then clean up the mold. If you don't fix the leak first, the mold will come right back!