Asthma Triggers

By Heather Legg

My friend’s that have kids with asthma know basically what brings on their children’s asthma attacks and of course, try their best to avoid them. The most common ones we hear about are dust mites, pet hair and smoke. I still never get how or why teenagers with asthma smoke (or any for that matter). One friend went with a non-shedding dog because they found that her son reacted to pet hair. Another is very particular about stuffed animals, due to dust mites, limiting them to her daughter’s one favorite and washing it on a regular basis. Most know that smoke is a severe trigger and try to avoid it all of the time. There are some other triggers, though, that everyone may not know about.

• Cleaning products – chemicals can be strong irritants to those with asthma and may exacerbate the condition. Any type of chemical can do this, so cleaning products with the least amount of chemicals are better. Look for green or organic brands, but read the labels carefully to check anyway. You may choose to use natural alternatives like baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar mixes. Remember this not only when you are cleaning, but if you are painting or using any type of chemical products.
• Pesticides – these are full of chemicals and even if they are odorless, they can still possibly trigger asthma attacks. If you have to use them, try them on the outside of your house only. You can also look for more natural alternatives to the more highly concentrated chemical ones.
• Mold – you probably know that mold is a trigger, but it can be anywhere, even if you can’t see it. Here are some tips from www.noattacks.org:
- If you see mold, clean it up with soap and water.
- Use exhaust fans or open a window in the bathroom when showering and the kitchen when cooking or washing dishes.
- Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water as soon as possible.
- Dry damp or wet items within 1-2 days to avoid mold growth.
• Cockroaches – the residue that cockroaches leave is a major trigger for allergies and asthma. Make sure you clean your kitchen, wiping counters and floors consistently. Don’t take food outside of the kitchen and don’t leave it out (especially overnight) even in the kitchen. Take your trash our regularly and don’t leave it overflowing.

The triggers for asthma and allergies are very similar, so it is important to keep your environment as clear from them as possible.

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