May is national asthma and allergy awareness month, and The Youth Clinic of Northern Colorado wants our patients to breathe easier. Your child’s asthma can be unpredictable, but it can also be brought on by exposure to asthma triggers, substances that cause onset of asthma or intensify symptoms. While every patient is different, removing asthma triggers from your home can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of attacks.
Work to identify your child’s individual asthma triggers, but start by creating an asthmatic-friendly environment by controlling the most common triggers:
- Cigarette Smoke: Don’t smoke in your home or in your car, and don’t allow visitors do light up.
- Cleaning Products: Reduce irritants and improve your indoor air quality by selecting unscented cleaning products, including mothballs and scented candles.
- Dust Mites: Cover your child’s mattress in a dust-proof slipcover, and wash bedclothes in hot water every week, and choose washable pillows and other bedding materials. Mites may also be found in curtains, carpets and upholstery, so regular cleaning may reduce attacks.
- Mold: Mold grows in damp areas of the home, so ventilate all areas of your home well, even if it requires adding additional fans. Clean mold outbreaks with water and detergent. In Colorado, mold outbreaks are most common in damp bathrooms.
- Pets: Many asthmatics are triggered by the fur and dander from dogs and cats. Keep pets out of asthmatics’ bedrooms, off beds and other furniture to control dander. In severe cases, the pet may need to be removed from the home.
In addition to controlling common asthma triggers, you can also help control environmental factors such as pollen and air quality in your home. Use high-efficiency heating and cooling system filters, and change them quarterly. Placing a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your child’s home can also reduce the amount of triggers in the air.
While you can’t completely control your child’s asthma, removing asthma triggers from your home can be a major step in reducing your child’s asthma symptoms. The Youth Clinic’s Healthy Lungs program is available year round to help families treat and manage asthma, and our providers are always available for one-on-one consultations.