Pollen in the air
In this blog we look a little more at how you can take additional precautions in your home to improve air quality and eliminate dust mites as best as you can. These are important if you know these factors are triggers for your asthma and/or allergies
Improving Indoor Air
Maintaining good indoor air quality in your home is an important aspect of asthma management. Irritants such as tobacco, wood fires, perfumes, aerosols, cleaning products, and fumes from paint can trigger flare-ups. Even scented candles or fresh newsprint are triggers for some people with asthma.
To maintain good air quality inside your home:
- Don’t allow people to smoke in your home. If you smoke, quit or smoke outside.
- Avoid wood fires.
- Avoid scented products. Wash and dry clothes with unscented laundry detergent, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets. Use unscented, nonaerosol versions or asthma and allergy friendly household cleaning products and avoid scented candles or room fresheners.
- If you must open windows on days when the pollen count is high, do so after mid-morning because counts are usually highest from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. If air quality is the problem, open doors and windows early, before pollution has a chance to build up.
If you try these measures, but are still concerned about your home’s air quality, consider buying an air cleaner with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter for your child’s bedroom.
Dealing With Dust Mites
Dust mites are a very common asthma trigger. They are microscopic bugs that live in household dust. Their diet consists mainly of shed human skin cells. They’re especially plentiful in upholstered furniture, on some kinds of bedding, and in rugs. The highest concentration of dust mites in the home is usually found in bedrooms.
To reduce dust mites:
- Vacuum and dust your home (especially your child’s room) often — at least once a week. Use a special small-pore filter bag on your vacuum or buy a vacuum with a HEPA filter. When you dust, use a damp cloth to avoid spreading dust mite particles in the air. Dusting with an asthma and allergy multi-surface cleaner is a good alternative to aerosol polishes.
- Avoid feather or down pillows or comforters; choose bedding made with synthetic materials instead.
- Every few weeks, wash bedding in a hot wash (60° C) and then dry on a high setting. As nice as it is to hang sheets on the line to dry this exposes them to airborne allergens such as pollen!
- Cover mattresses and pillows with mite-proof covers (available from retailers who specialize in hypoallergenic products). Also, be sure to regularly wipe down the covers.
- If you have area rugs, make sure they’re washable and clean them regularly in hot water or steam clean.
- Stay away from blinds which have lots of horizontal surfaces that catch dust.
- Avoid upholstered furniture and pillows.
- Avoid using a humidifier, especially in your child’s room.
- Run a dehumidifier in damp areas of your home. But make sure you empty and clean the water frequently.
As Spring arrives and plants go into bloom pollen can become another issue for asthma and allergy sufferers. Check out our Pollen a Problem reference page and Asthma UK’s Knowledge Bank for controlling seasonal rhinitis
We hope you’ve found this check list helpful. It is of course not exclusive and you may have developed your own techniques for dealing with these things. Share your tricks with fellow readers below.