Do you have an Asthma friendly home?

We all spend quite a lot of time at our home indoors. The indoor environment is very important and has a lot of impact on children's allergies and asthma. Reducing triggers and allergens can help to make your child’s asthma significantly better.

Why is my asthma worse in my house?
In many children, adolescents and young adults asthma is driven by indoor allergens and triggers. In these situations asthma is worse at home. On the contrary if asthma is due to outdoor allergens it is going to get worse in the outdoor environment.

What are the common allergens and triggers in our homes?
Common households have many allergens and triggers which can make asthma in children worse. The common allergens inside our homes are house dust mites, pet dander (cat or dog), indoor fungus or molds and cockroaches. These allergens are present in all households throughout the year and are similar across the world. Households also can have pollen coming from outside which can be of trees, weeds and grasses. The pollens are present in specific seasons and vary according to the geographical area.

In addition to the allergens all homes also have triggers which can make asthma worse. Common indoor asthma triggers include environmental tobacco smoke (secondhand smoke), smoke from cooking especially when kerosene, wood or coal is used, mosquito repellents & coils, perfumes, deodorants, paints etc.

How can I make my home asthma friendly?
Reducing the exposure to allergens and triggers can lead to significant improvement in your child’s asthma symptoms and control. Dust mites can be reduced by wet mopping of floors, washing all bedding weekly in hot water above 60 ° C and drying in sunlight and reducing/replacing curtains and carpets. Pets should be kept away from bedrooms and should be regularly bathed/groomed to reduce animal dander at home. Keeping humidity levels low by using dehumidifiers helps reduce moulds. Cigarette smoking should be stopped inside homes at any place including balconies. Cleaner fuels like LPG gas or PNG gas should be used for cooking instead of wood, coal or kerosene. Agarbatti and mosquito coils should not not be used.

Does an air purifier help asthma?
Air purifiers help reduce ambient air pollution inside our homes although the benefit seems to be limited in Indian households. This happens because most homes have open doors and windows allowing outdoor pollution. In addition air purifiers are used in one or two rooms for a few hours only. Air purifiers can eliminate smoke and dander which float in air but are not useful for dust mites which are heavier and settle down on surfaces.

If you or your child has asthma or allergies you need to consult a pediatric allergist to help manage asthma better

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