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Asthma and Your Family

This topic offers recommendations for eliminating common triggers so that you can do the same for your child at home. And it discusses typical family issues, such as behavior, communication, and relationships with your child who has asthma as well as with siblings, relatives, and caregivers.



Asthma-Proofing Your Home

As you work to achieve better control of your child's asthma, it is important to asthma-proof your home by eliminating triggers that can lead to flares. If your child has been skin-tested for allergies, you can make specific changes in his bedroom and the rest of the house to minimize contact with the offending allergen. Even if your child hasn't been tested for allergies, these suggestions can help all children with asthma reduce or eliminate possible triggers that can cause airway inflammation.

Most children have year round symptoms that are commonly affected by indoor asthma triggers, so you can best reduce those triggers if you know what they are and where to find them. Earlier chapters explained that the most common indoor triggers are dust mites, mold, cockroaches, rodents, animal dander, and secondhand tobacco smoke. Other triggers, such as strong smells from perfumes or cleaners, physical exercise, increased humidity, low temperatures, and houseplants or greenery, such as live Christmas trees, also affect some children.

The most important part of your home to target asthma triggers is the place where your child spends much of his time, both awake and asleep. For most children it's the bedroom, but it may also be the living room, family room, or wherever they spend a lot of time playing, watching television, or using a computer. First, here are some recommendations for the whole house, then some specific suggestions for your child's room.

Around the House

Changes that are easy to make and inexpensive can be made throughout the home:

Keep your home smoke-free.

Remove carpets where possible. Ideally, it's best to remove carpets throughout the home, but at least take them out of your child's bedroom. Cleaning solutions (e.g., DustMiteX, Allersearch ADS, and Allersearch X-Mite cleaner) are available for reducing house dust mites, but they don't eliminate the presence of mold spores in carpeting, which can be an asthma trigger.

Fix leaky faucets. Stagnant water can attract roaches, increase humidity, and lead to mildew and mold.

Reduce humidity in the house to less than 50 percent by using dehumidifiers or central air conditioners. If you don't have central air, a window air conditioner unit is preferable to a window fan, which can pull pollen into the house. Use a dehumidifier in the basement to reduce mold exposure. Avoid belt type humidifiers because bacteria and fungi thrive on the damp belts.

Dust furniture weekly.

Wipe down baseboards with hot water and soap on a weekly basis to reduce dust mites and remove pieces and feces of cockroaches, which are potent allergens.

Vacuum when your child is out of the house to avoid dust inhalation.

Never leave food out. Keep food and garbage in closed containers.Seal garbage and take it out at the end of the day to reduce cockroaches and rodents.

Place roach and mice bait in childproof containers and out of the reach of your child. If a spray is used to kill roaches, she should stay out of the room until the odor goes away.

Select vinyl or leather coverings the next time you buy upholstered furniture. It isn't necessary to throw out a cloth-covered stuffed sofa, but you might buy an inexpensive vinyl covered beanbag chair for your child to sit in while watching TV. That way, she'll be less exposed to dust than if she snuggles into a sofa pillow.

Install ventilators (exhaust fans) for appliances like stoves when possible.

Keep your heating system and its filters well maintained.

Use nonallergenic cleaning products (ammonia, baking soda,beeswax, lemon oil, mineral oil, paste wax, nonchlorine bleachesFind Article, white or apple cider vinegar mixed with water).

Avoid scented and deodorant soaps. Choose mild soaps instead.

Article Tags: Dust Mites

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