How to Control Allergy and Asthma Triggers at Home

Asthma affects some 22 million people in the United States (NHLBI), allergies affect even more than that. Researchers aren't exactly sure what causes asthma, but they can usually get a pretty good idea about what allergens affect people. An allergist is a doctor trained and practiced in the diagnosis and treatment of any sort of allergen that may cause some sort of reaction.

Allergies are sometimes lumped together with asthma because the symptoms that show up in people for allergies and asthma are similar, sometimes even the same. Some folks even develop a condition known as allergy–induced asthma. However, there are a few critical differences between allergies and asthma. Since these two are so close, it is important to know how to control the surrounding environment and identify possible triggers for allergies and asthma.

How to Control Allergy and Asthma Triggers at Home

Preventing Allergy and Asthma Triggers at Home

Many things can trigger an asthma attack, or bring about an allergic reaction which may lead to asthma. These allergy and asthma triggers are very common in most any home or work environment. Dust mites, dust mite droppings, various types of mold, pollen, cockroaches, most types of pets, and a huge variety of household irritants. Secondhand tobacco smoke at home may also be a trigger.

Get a pad and pen and start making a list of things around the house that could be allergy or asthma triggers. Carpeted floors is a big collector of dust, pollen, mite droppings, and just about anything that has been dropped or ground into it over the years. Ask a friend who has wood or laminate flooring about the amount of dust that collects in an uncarpeted home over just a few days. In a carpeted home, all that dust has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is in the carpet.

See the full list of Allergens & Irritants on NIEHS.

How to Control Allergy and Asthma Triggers at Home

Allergy and Asthma Triggers in the Bedroom

OK, time to get serious here. Take a look at the bedroom and the amount of surface area available for dust, dust mites, pollen, and any other particles that can collect there. Take all the pillows and enclose them in zippered, allergen–proof pillow covers, as well as the regular pillow cases. While doing that, get a zippered cover and place it over the mattress and over the box springs. Absolutely no feathers in any of the bedding. Indoor plants should also be avoided.

At least once a week take off all the bedding, pillow cases, and mattress covers to be washed thoroughly in hot water. Replace any curtains or heavily lined drapes with something easily washable like venetian blinds or window shades. Do not use those little tiny mini–blinds as they have much more surface area to clean. Go for the larger blinds or shutters.

How to Control Allergy and Asthma Triggers at Home

Triggers, Triggers Everywhere for Allergy and Asthma

Replace air conditioner and heater filters. Cover all air conditioner and heater outlets with cheesecloth and change these regularly. Dust all surfaces with a damp cloth as often as possible throughout the house including lampshades, dust covers, windowsills, the tops of high bookcases, trim that may normally be out–of–reach, books, the tops of door frames.

To best eliminate allergens and asthma, you should use air purifiers with HEPA filters. Read this.

Stuffed animals are notorious collectors of all things considered allergy or asthma triggers. Be sure and wash them on a regular basis and if they cannot be washed, try and replace them with washable varieties. Keep all clothing, books, toys, and anything that could be considered clutter inside of an enclosed space like a box, drawer, or closet.

The air inside the home should be kept as dry as possible so use air conditioners when available or even a dehumidifier to keep the humidity down to a low 25 to 50 percent. In the bathroom, use cleaning products that kill and prevent mold, use that exhaust fan to vent any extra steam, and absolutely no carpet in the bathroom.

In order to better control the humidity in your home, it is advisable to use measuring devices for monitoring. Read this.

There are many more things that can be done to eliminate or decrease exposure to some or most of these allergy and asthma triggers.The most important thing is to know one's specific triggers and the triggers of others living in the house, especially children who tend to be more sensitive to allergens and more likely to suffer from asthma.

Further reading: Allergy Blood Tests Help to Diagnose Allergies

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