Does your child suffer from asthma? If so, you may be wondering what you can do at home to ward off problems. It’s important to know common triggers that affect most children with asthma. Read on to discover ways to asthma-proof your home.
About 1 in 10 children have asthma in the U.S., and that number is growing. Asthma symptoms can be scary for you and your child. You may notice that your child:
- Has trouble breathing
- Coughs frequently
- Wheezes when exhaling
- Notices chest pain
- Is short of breath, especially with activity
- Does not sleep well
A variety of things trigger asthma in children and may be different for each child. Common triggers include:
- Allergies to dust, pollen, mold, chemicals, or scents
- Allergies to pet dander
- Exercise, especially in cold air
- A cold or flu
Tips to asthma-proof your home
There are many things that you can do at home to keep your child safe and prevent an asthma flare. Here are six ways to reduce allergy triggers at home.
- Improve air quality. One of the best ways to improve air quality is to use an air purifier with a small-particle (HEPA) filter at home. Let others know not to smoke or use perfumes or scents in your home. Don’t use a wood-burning fireplace. Keep your windows closed and run the air conditioning in the spring and fall when pollen counts are high.
- Clean often and well. Dust mites and mold are big triggers for most children. Clean floors and vacuum with a HEPA filter at least twice a week. Change and wash sheets and bedding in hot water every week. Clean areas with high humidity, such as the bathroom, every week to make sure mold does not grow. Clean your child’s toys often, especially stuffed toys.
- Remove and replace live plants. Dirt and soil can harbor mold and other allergens. Remove live plants from your home and instead feature an outdoor garden that your family can enjoy from afar.
- Remove shoes when entering the house. Shoes are full of dirt, mold and all kinds of potential triggers for children with allergies. Place a basket by your front door and ask visitors to remove their shoes before entering your home.
- Pets. Pets are wonderful, but they can be a major trigger for children with allergies. If you do have a pet, make sure they have a weekly bath and that their paws are cleaned before they come in the house from outdoors. Pets should not sleep in the same room with your child.
- Bedding tips. Your child spends many hours in their bed sleeping each night. Cover the mattress, box spring, and pillows in allergy-proof covers.
Follow your child’s asthma action plan
An asthma action plan includes information about medicines or inhalers that your child should take regularly and what to do if they have a flare. Know the symptoms that indicate problems are starting and when you should take action.