According to Asthma Australia, there are a variety of environmental conditions in the home that can trigger asthma. One of the main triggers is dust & dust mites.
Colds & flus can be more serious for people with asthma, and traditional forms of home heating can flair up asthma too. Be prepared for the Winter season with our tips on creating an asthma friendly home.
We have 7 tips for reducing the asthmagens in your home to improve your indoor air quality and reduce the risk of asthma attacks.
It’s critical to remove as many triggers as possible – from removing dust mites and animal dander, to introducing flora and eco-friendly cleaning products – and implementing clever techniques to ensure they won’t return.
Vacuuming generally will stir up dust and dust mites. A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and a motorised head that really gets into the carpet is going to be much more effective. You’re also better vacuuming less frequently but really spending time on each area when you do to really lift the dust from the carpet. Vacuuming with a HEPA filter captures the finer particles that trigger asthma symptoms.
Improving ventilation will assist with removing asthmagens from the environment. In the cooler Winter months we tend to keep the home closed off to cold outside air, which means less air flow through the house and an increase in dust. The SolarVenti pushes in fresh natural air from outside. It filters out any airborne particles in the air before it enters your home. The SolarVenti can also heat the air before it enters, and control humidity levels of the air. Leaving you with a healthy ventilated home.
Cleaning Flat Surfaces
Spending a few minutes reading product labelling will bring huge benefit to your indoor air quality. Bleach and other chemicals such as monoethanolamine, diethanolamine and triethanolamine typically found in tile cleaners and laundry detergents contain asthmagens, as well as ammonia in window and mirror-cleaning products. The eco-friendly alternatives are generally the safest. Blending white vinegar with water is an affordable and safe substitute. You can even just use water to damp a cloth and wipe the dust off flat surfaces. Fancy cleaning products aren’t always needed. Adding eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil may also be benfitial.
Bedding is a special kind of heaven for dust mites, so it pays to invest in hypoallergenic quilts and pillows that you then look after properly. Proper maintenance of bedding items such as mattress protectors, sheets and quilts can substantially minimise the chance of aggravating asthma. Wash sheets, pillow cases & quilt covers once a week in warm water, quilts every six months and pillows every three to six months in accordance with their individual care instructions. You should also vacuum mattresses whenever you change the sheets. Don’t be tempted to opt for the cheaper bedding – purchasing hypoallergenic (or non-allergy producing) bedding materials such as mattress protectors, sheets, duvets and pillows will deter dust mites from nesting and making themselves comfortable. Bedding derived from all-natural fibers like organic cotton and silk are soft and will help resist the asthmagens as they are naturally hypoallergenic.
Pet dander is also a common trigger Everyone loves pets, but they can play havoc with asthma – allergens they produce are the second biggest trigger for asthma suffers. Before you banish Rex though, there are ways to lessen his impact. Keep pets outside wherever possible – certainly out of living areas and bedrooms – use durable covers on cushions and sofas and wash them regularly, and vacuum floors and furniture. Most ‘hypoallergenic’ breeds of cats and dogs are very expensive, so acute sufferers should probably opt for fish or reptiles. To prevent attacks from occurring, wash your fury friends about once a week to reduce their spread of hair around the property.
Another trigger for asthma suffers is mould, and you can’t always see it. Many mould cleaning products are quite potent and involve bleach or detergents that can further aggravate asthma. According to the National Asthma Council you should: clean porous surfaces with a naturally fermented white vinegar solution; ensure there’s adequate ventilation, especially in bathrooms; use air filters to reduce airborne mould. The SolarVenti systems will help with drying and ventilation to prevent mould.
This is a tricky one, but if you have kids, it’s also recommended rethinking teddy bears and avoiding soft toys and sheepskin products as much as possible or at least washing them every couple of months, probably more often. To kill the dust mites, pop the teddy into a freezer bag and stick it in the freezer overnight, hot wash it then let it line dry.
Smoke Free Zone
For many asthma sufferers, this one goes without saying – but it’s important to avoid these elements, especially in an indoor environment. The inhalation of cigarette smoke for an asthmatic is often followed by an attack.
Incorporate some Greenery
It may seem like an unusual suggestion, but indoor plants can significantly improve the quality of oxygen in your home, which in turn reduces the number of asthma triggers that may be in the space. Having just one plant featured in a room where people spend most time acts as a sponge whereby it will absorb various toxins, chemicals, asthmagens and pollutants, and replaces them with fresh oxygen.
Overall, whether vacuuming, changing sheets or dusting, it’s a good idea to have a window open so any stirred up dust that becomes airborne can be carried out with air flow rather than re-settling inside.