If you or someone in your family has allergies or asthma, HealthFinder.gov offers tips to help make your home a better place to breathe easier.
One major step is figuring out what causes yours or a family member’s allergy or asthma attacks. Different people will react to different allergens and irritants (things that can irritate the lungs). Consult a doctor about tests to learn what exactly is causing a reaction. Once you identify these triggers, you can take steps to get rid of or avoid those things in your home.
Make Bedrooms Safer
We all spend a lot of time in our bedrooms, so work to keep allergens and irritants out of yours.
- Cover your mattresses and pillows in “dust proof” or “allergen proof” covers to combat allergens, namely dust mites.
- Wash all bedding in very hot water (at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit) once a week. Go to a laundromat if the water in your home doesn’t get that hot.
- If you have pets that you’re allergic to, like cats or dogs, keep them out of the bedroom.
- If possible, remove all carpets; it’s easier to keep bare floors clean.
Keep your home dry to prevent mold. Mold, a common asthma trigger, can start to grow in wet or damp places within just one or two days.
- If you have a water leak, clean up the water immediately. Fix the leak as soon as possible.
- When you take a shower, run the bathroom fan or open the window for at least 20 minutes afterward.
- Check the humidity level in your home with a moisture or humidity meter (available at hardware stores). You may need to use a de-humidifier or air conditioner to keep the humidity level below 60 percent–between 30 and 50 percent is best.
- Safely clean mold or throw out moldy items. You may need to consult a specialist for bad cases.
Keep Pests Out
Rodents and cockroaches might cause allergy or asthma attacks, among other health issues, so practice pest prevention.
- Fix leaks in sinks and toilets.
- Put trays under your plants, radiators and refrigerator. Check the trays for water and clean them often.
- Store food, including pet food, in closed containers.
- Clean up crumbs and spills right away.
- Fill in cracks or holes that could be good indoor hiding places for pests.
- Put screens in your windows and doors.
- If you see roaches or rodents, call a pest control company.
Tobacco smoke, including secondhand smoke, can make asthma worse. And babies who live in homes where people smoke are at higher risk of developing asthma. If you smoke, make a plan to quit today. If you have guests who smoke, ask them to do so outside.
Breathing too much smoke from a wood-burning stove or fireplace can also cause an asthma attack. If you can avoid it, don’t burn wood in your home.
For more help, consult a doctor about managing allergies or asthma.