Having a child with asthma can be stressful for parents. With one in six children in the San Joaquin Valley suffering from asthma, it is important to be aware of the triggers that cause an attack and how to limit your child’s exposure to them.
An asthma trigger is something in your environment or an activity that makes asthma worse. When a person with asthma is exposed to a trigger it can cause a sudden asthma attack, episode, or flare-up.
Removing these common triggers from your home can help you manage your child’s asthma and prevent it from becoming worse.
The dead skin cells (known a dander) and saliva that dogs, cats, birds and other animals with fur or feathers leave behind can trigger asthma. If you have a pet, reduce your exposure to these allergens by vacuuming and dusting often and keeping them out of rooms where you spend most of your time.
Mold releases spores that when breathed in can trigger asthma symptoms. Reduce your exposure to mold by cleaning regularly, fixing leaks, throwing away moldy items, running a dehumidifier and using the exhaust fan when taking a shower.
While some house plants, like the Peace Lily or English Ivy can actually help filter indoor toxins from the air, many house plants can make asthma symptoms worse when they develop mold from over-watering. Check in with your local nursery to find a plant that will help filter the air in your home.
Keep pollen and other seasonal allergens outside by encouraging your family to wipe their feet on a mat before entering your home. It might be helpful to provide a box or bin where your family enters the home where they can leave their shoes before coming in. Hair and clothing can also collect pollen, so encourage your child to shower before bed if they’ve spent time outside when the pollen count is high.
Dust mites, cockroaches and rodents carry allergens that trigger asthma symptoms. To avoid attracting these pests, keep the surfaces in your home clean and uncluttered, dust and vacuum regularly. Keep garbage cans covered and stored outside. Wash sheets and pillow cases weekly to reduce dust mites.
Cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke can make it hard to breathe for asthmatics and non-asthmatics alike. If you or somebody in your home smokes, make a plan to quit or discuss ways to limit your child’s exposure. If you are ready to kick the habit, contact the American Lung Association Lung HelpLine at 1-800-586-4872 to speak with someone who can help.
Perfumes, scented candles, personal care items and cleaning supplies with strong odors can trigger asthma symptoms. Throw out heavily scented items and choose products that are odor- and fragrance-free.
Stuffed Animals and Toys
Stuffed animals are often home to dust mites and other allergens. Choose toys that can be cleaned with soap and water or disinfecting wipes. If your child can’t part with their favorite teddy bear, be sure to launder or vacuum it regularly.
Wall to Wall Carpeting
Indoor carpeting can be a notorious collector of dust mites, but not everyone is able to replace carpeting with hard wood, tile or linoleum. Consider investing in a quality, Certified Asthma & Allergy Friendly® vacuum that will prevent allergens from scattering into the air.
Learning what triggers asthma symptoms and eliminating them from your home is an important step toward managing your child’s asthma. Community’s Asthma Education Program can help you recognize what makes asthma worse so you can help your child breathe easier.
Learn More About Community's Asthma Education Program