3 Types of Airborne Triggers That May be Affecting Your Child’s Asthma
It is reported that 80% of asthma patients have allergies to substances that can be found in the air. Because of this, minimizing exposure to airborne asthma triggers is an important part of keeping your child’s asthma symptoms under control. Today we’ll review how to keep three of the major types of airborne asthma triggers at bay in and around your home: pollution, pollen, and mold.
Air pollution can come from a variety of different sources, both indoors and outdoors. To maintain awareness about potential air pollutants outdoors, keep an eye on the Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI measures various air pollutants, rating the air quality from 0 to 500 -- 0 being good, 500 being hazardous. Any rating 101 or higher is considered “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” Because asthma is considered a sensitive group, the AQI is especially important to watch. When the AQI is high, it is a good practice to avoid spending significant time outside.
Indoor pollutants are also crucial to control, as time activity studies estimate that children can spend as much as 90% of their time indoors. Here is an overview of how to keep some of the most common home air pollutants from exacerbating your child’s asthma symptoms:
Keep the use of any perfumes or aerosol products like hairspray contained within a space where your child is not usually present, or even use outside. If possible, avoid using these products at all.
Try to keep your child away from the kitchen while using the stove (which can produce smoke and fumes) and turn on a venting hood if you have one or open a window. You can have your child plan in their bedroom with the door closed to minimize their exposure.
Refrain from using candles, fireplaces, tobacco products, or any other common smoke sources in and around your house.
If your house is connected to your garage, keep the door shut to prevent carbon monoxide from cars, motorcycles, or lawnmowers from coming inside the house.
As mentioned in our guide on preparing your child’s sleep space to improve asthma control, pollen is also a common trigger to be aware of, both within your home and outside. Exposure to pollen can drive your child’s immune system to overproduce histamine, which causes inflammation and extra mucus. Here are a few ways to reduce your child’s exposure to pollen:
If your child has been exposed to high amounts of pollen outdoors, change his/her clothes when coming inside and wash your child’s hair before bed to avoid getting pollen on their pillow case.
In the spring and summer months, while it may be tempting to keep the windows open, try to avoid it - particularly in your child’s bedroom, as doing so allows pollen to come inside.
Avoid having plants with pollen inside your house or in your yard.
Mold can be a force to be reckoned with, especially in warm, damp areas like bathrooms. Mold reproduces by expelling spores into the air, which can then trigger asthma. While mold is a common household problem, there fortunately are many effective ways to eliminate it:
Keep humidity below 50%. If needed run a dehumidifier. After showering/bathing run the fan in the bathroom or open a window to allow the steam out.
If your home has any sort of wallpaper, rugs, or carpeting in mold-prone spaces, consider removing it. Even a seemingly benign bathmat can become a culprit if not washed frequently, so opting for a antibacterial and mildew repellent mat made of a material like teak or vinyl can be a game changer.
Keep an eye out for visible mold, treating any problem areas with bleach with bleach, and replacing items like shower curtains on a semi-regular basis.
When humidity levels climb past 50%, the risk of accumulating mold and dust mites increases. If you open to run a humidifier in your child’s bedroom or somewhere else in your home, be mindful of the humidity level in your environment using a humidity meter, which can be purchased online for less than $10.
If you are using a humidifier, also be sure to clean it regularly to avoid any mold accumulation within the unit itself.