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Friday, December 7, 2012

Your home can affect your asthma

(Shutterstock image)

Did you know that there are things in your home that can make your asthma worse?

The 2nd time my son was hospitalized, he wasn't responding to traditional treatment for his asthma flare up. My pediatrician called in an asthma specialist to confer. Asthma Doc asked us all sorts of questions about our home. Did we have pets? Did we have wall to wall carpet? Did we use scented candles? Did we have floral arrangements or silk trees? He went on and on.

That was my introduction to a sort of cause-and-effect for asthma.

12 hospitalizations later for my kids, we have tried to make a lot of changes on our home. Some of the things that are recommended through the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). You can find information about controlling asthma triggers on the EPA asthma website.

Here's some of the things we do to make our home allergy and asthma friendly

  • Wood floors-easier to keep clean than carpet. I can actually see the dust and suck it up with my vacuum nozzle. Gotcha!
  • Vacuum twice a week-it helps reduce dust, which is a common asthma trigger
  • Remove shoes-I ask everyone to do that when they enter my home. This cuts down on the amount of dirt/bacteria/fungus, etc that we track in on the bottom of our shoes
  • Don't store anything under beds-it can be like excavating for dinosaur bones under beds sometimes. It's full of dust (and you're sleeping on top of it, breathing it in all night long!)
  • Limit stuffed animals on the end of the bed. I let daughter Kitty have her 2 favorites. The others get stored away.
  • Wash bedding weekly in hot water-kills dust mites and washes out the pollen
  • Use dust mite proof pillows, pillow covers and mattress covers
  • Use roll up shades or roman shades in the kid's rooms-I found that regular blinds catch a lot of dust. And I how often do you clean your blinds?! It's not on my list of favorite things to do.  When I switched to roll up shades, there's nothing for the dust to build up. And the kids are sneezing less, so it's working!
  • Use central air rather than a swamp cooler. Swamp coolers suck in pollen, air pollution and smoke from forest fires. They also make the house very humid which can lead to mold problems.
  • No pets! If you already have them, keep them off the bed and out of the bedrooms.  
This list may look a little overwhelming. Just pick a few things to begin with, then add one thing at a time. Many of these things don't cost money, but instead you will need to spend time cleaning. Break it down into small steps. Hubby and I both work full time and the kids are all in school. But if we all pitch in a little bit each day to help clean, it's worth it. We breathe easier and our asthma doesn't seem as bad when the house is clean. And the kids haven't been in the hospital in 5 years! Knock on wood.

A clean house is a healthy house. And it helps you breathe easier. Who wouldn't want to do that for their child?

Happy cleaning! And reward yourself with a pedicure, or manicure. Or watch a chick flick.

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