The number of people with asthma is rising in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health. While there is no cure, you can breathe easier by controlling asthma the right way.
26 million Americans have asthma. It affects their activity, attendance at school, and medical costs.
We’re learning more about how to control asthma the right way through studies and research.
Researchers at The National Institutes of Health found that a child’s chance of developing asthma or allergies increases where there’s a family history of these conditions or if the mother was exposed to smoke while pregnant.
Irritants like dust mites, cat and dog dander, cockroach droppings, and mold increase a child’s risk of asthma. Taking steps at home can alleviate risk factors.
Studies are underway across the country, including in suburban Washington D.C., to research the effects of home improvements on the health of children with asthma.
Home improvements have been completed at homes in Laurel, Glenn Burnie, Silver Spring, Kensington, Oxon Hill, Baltimore, Columbia, Bowie, and Fort Washington, Maryland. The study is ongoing to determine if there’s a noticeable difference in the health of the children where improvements have been made.
In Phoenix, the National Center for Healthy Housing did a similar asthma study more than ten years ago. 96% of parents reported improved respiratory symptoms with their asthmatic children after the home improvements were complete.
When you suffer from asthma, you know how important it is to control asthma triggers.
There are asthma triggers throughout our environment, both inside and outside. The air quality in your home is one thing you can control to help reduce the severity of your asthma attacks.
Asthma patients are more sensitive to dust, smoke, chemicals, mold, and pollen because their airways are already inflamed. The National Institutes of Health says avoiding these triggers reduces the inflammation, your symptoms, and your need for asthma medicine.
There is no cure for asthma, but you can control it.
Limit pets in the bedroom
If you are allergic to pet dander, keep your pets with fur or hair out of your home.
If that’s not possible, and the pet lives in the home with you, keep it out of sleeping areas like the bedroom.
If you have carpet in your home, it’s easy for dirt and debris to get trapped in the fibers of the carpet.
Experts suggest removing carpet because it’s harder to clean than flooring.
Control dust mites
Dust mites live in our mattresses, pillows, carpets, cloth furniture, clothes, and stuffed animals. The NIH says many people who have asthma are also allergic to dust mites.
To control dust mites in your home, wash sheets and blankets once a week in hot water, add a dust-proof cover to your mattress and pillow, reduce indoor humidity below 60-percent, keep stuffed toys of your bed, remove carpet, and don’t sleep on cloth cushions.
Cleaning your home regularly, sweeping, and keeping food in closed containers will help keep cockroaches away, which are another asthma trigger.
To keep your home clean, use a doormat to trap allergens before they get in your house. Also, remove your shoes at the door so you are not tracking mud, dirt, and allergens into the home.
Prevent mold growth
Stop mold in your home by limiting its ability to grow. One of the most common places to find mold is in the bathroom where there’s a lot of moisture.
When you take a shower, steam builds up in your bathroom. A mold problem forms if your bathroom exhaust vent isn’t properly venting the steam outside.
Also, fix leaky faucets, pipes, or other water sources, control humidity and make sure your appliances are venting properly.
Mold can grow if there’s a water leak. Check your indoor and outdoor plumbing regularly to make sure you don’t have a hidden leak. With plumbing, homeowners often find the leak after the damage is done. If you dry a wet surface within 24-48 hours, you shouldn’t have a mold problem. Be sure to fix leaky faucets, pipes, or other water sources.
Control humidity, and check your appliances to ensure they are venting properly.
Control indoor humidity
High humidity levels create an environment where mold and fungus thrive, which can bother anyone with asthma or allergies.
An increase in the humidity level also means more dust mites. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the number of dust mites increases when the humidity in your home is between 70 and 80-percent.
Change your air filter regularly
Americans are spending more time inside their home, so it’s important to control the air you breathe.
Air filters get dirty over time because the air that your HVAC system heats and cools passes through the air filter. In order to have clean air in your home, it’s to change filters regularly, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Buy green cleaning products
Cleaning products may also contribute to asthma. Check to see if the products you use in your home have the Safer Choice EPA label. The EPA says these products perform well while being safer for human health and the environment.
Check your home’s ventilation
Irritants are also found in fumes from wood-burning appliances or fireplaces, strong perfumes, as well as stoves and other appliances that are not vented properly.
Quality ventilation is key to dealing with household irritants and mold.
Ventilation is especially critical in your bathroom due to excess moisture from showers and bathing. These can build up and cause mold issues.
Create an asthma action plan
Controlling asthma the right way starts with preventing attacks and symptoms. That’s challenging when your child has asthma. That’s why the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology created Mr. Nose-It-All. He presents a series of games, recipes, and puzzles to help prevent and control asthma.
The plan covers the possible medications, side effects, dosage time recommendations, and the symptoms the medicine controls. The plan also lists different asthma triggers and suggestions for how to control your asthma the right way.