Controlling Allergens in the Home

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If you or your children have allergies or asthma, you already know that many things can bring on, or “trigger,” an asthma flare or episode. Some things that trigger asthma attacks are called allergens. Many people get symptoms from only one allergen — like dust mites. For other people, more than one kind of allergen can trigger an episode. Animal dander, cockroaches, dust mites, mold, mildew and pollen are the most common allergens found in the home.

Cleaning your home is one of the easiest steps you can take to help reduce allergy or asthma flares and to control the common triggers. If you don’t clean, the mildew, dust and other allergens will build up, making asthma symptoms worse. A supportive family can make all the difference in the life of an asthmatic. When everyone in the household works together to maintain a clean and allergen-free environment, everyone benefits.

Here are some simple tips to follow to rid your home of allergens:

  • For the asthmatic person in the family, the daily tasks of dishwashing and cleaning up clutter before it becomes dusty are of great importance.
  • When tackling other tasks — such as dusting, sweeping, or using cleaning products that could trigger allergies/asthma — make sure that the asthmatic person is out of the room.
  • Read and follow label directions on cleaning products. The label directions give the proper amount of product to use, how to use the product and any special safety advice and warnings. Cleaning products can trigger asthma attacks for some people. Use with care.
  • If you use spray products, spray the cleaner on a cloth or sponge first instead of on the surface. This method will limit the amount of chemicals broadcast into the air.
  • Clean in a “well-ventilated” area – open a door and a window or turn on an exhaust fan. Leave the room when you are finished cleaning and allow the room to air out.
  • Use cleaning products that have no scent or are perfume free whenever possible. Fragrances can often trigger asthma attacks.
  • Try different products to find the ones that work best for you and your family and read all labels carefully before using in your home.