Controlling Your Asthma

What to Watch for

There are many early clues that your body may give you that tell you that an asthma attack may be developing. Some of the common ones are listed below. Look back on you past episodes and see if you have any of these early warning signs. Keeping an asthma diary may also help identify your triggers.

Steps you can take to help control your symptoms:

  • Taking your medications properly
  • Routine medications
  • Rescue medications
  • Environmental clean-up in your bedroom and home
  • Avoiding trigger
  • Staying calm
  • Keep a Record: asthma diary
  • Control: Allergens-pollen, fungi, animal dander, dust
  • Let others know you have asthma to help you if you need it, such as the school nurse, Gym teacher, or coach
  • Have medications easily accessible

Reducing Asthma Triggers in Your Home

Your asthma is YOUR asthma. Things that make your asthma worse may not make another persons asthma worse. Finding out what makes your asthma worse and staying away from those things can help prevent asthma attacks.

Things in the home that can trigger asthma symptoms:

  • Wood burning stoves, fireplaces and kerosene heaters
  • Strong odors from many household cleaning products, paints, perfumes, sprays, talcum powder
  • Exercise, sports, and play
  • Whether changes-cold
  • Smoke-tobacco and other smokes
  • Dust mites
  • Molds
  • Pets
  • Cockroaches
  • Exercise, sports, and play

Tobacco Smoking

Smoking and second hand smoke can cause asthma symptoms to worsen.

  • Ask family members to quit smoking
  • Do not let anyone smoke inside the house or around you or in your car
  • If they smoke outside, ask them to wear a different coat
  • Be sure no one smokes near your child at a day care center or babysitter

Dust Mites and House Dust

Allergy to house dust is an important cause of allergic symptoms. Many people are allergic to house dust. Learning to decease being around to house dust can decrease these symptoms. There are many parts to house dust, the most important is the dust mite. This is a microscopic insect-like creature that is found in many homes. It lives mainly in pillows and mattresses, upholstered furniture and carpeting. The dust mite likes warm and humid conditions.

Taking steps to toward reducing the dusts mite, especially in the bedroom can decrease the allergic symptoms and decrease the need for medicines.

  • Encase the mattresses in allergen-impermeable covers
  • Wash pillows and bedding in hot water weekly
  • Remove all carpeting or apply a solution to inactivate allergen or kill dust mites
  • Cover heat vents with filters to clean the air at point of entry
  • Avoid heavy curtains and blinds. Use window shades if possible. If you have curtains, wash them frequently.
  • Used wood, plastic, vinyl or leather furniture not upholstered
  • Keep humidity level between 40-50%
  • Keep all clothing in a closet or dresser
  • Avoid dust collectors such as books and wall hangings
  • Remove or machine wash stuffed toys

Molds

Mold can cause asthma symptoms to become worse. Mold grows on moist surfaces. Condensation on windows can lead to moisture and mold growth on the window frame. Prevent mold growth by:

  • Repairing leaky facets, pipes and other sources of water
  • Clean moldy surfaces with cleaners that contain bleach
  • Avoid getting a live Christmas tree
  • Keep houseplants kept out of the bedroom
  • Store firewood should not be stored outside
  • Use the exhaust fan or open window to remove humidity from the air after a shower or a bath
  • Use a squeegee to remove excess water from the shower stall and tub after use
  • Wash the bathroom tile, tubs, tank, and shower curtain with mold preventing solutions
  • Hang wet towels to dry or wash and dry after use
  • Keep garbage containers empty and clean frequently

Pets

Pets can cause allergy and asthma symptoms to become worse. Animals such as dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, horse, birds are common animals that have fur or feathers that can shed dander that may make asthma worse, especially with repeated exposures.

  • If you do not own an animal, do not get one
  • If you have one, remove the animal from your home
  • If you must have a pet, try choosing pets that do not have fur and feathers, such as a snake or fish
  • If you have a pet that has feathers or fur, limit their expose to carpeted areas and upholstered furniture
  • Keep your pet out of your bedroom at all times
  • Keep your bedroom door closed
  • Place a filter over the air intact vent of your bedroom
  • Avoid visits to family and friends that have animals when possible
  • Talk to your doctor about using your inhaled medicines before visits to a home that has pets

Cockroaches

Many people are allergic to cockroach remains and dried dropping. Cockroaches are common in inner cities and humid areas.

Things you can to limit exposure:

  • Keep food out of bedrooms
  • Keep food and garbage in closed containers
  • Never leave food out in the open
  • Use items to help kill these pests such as boric acid, powders, gels, pastes, and bait. If using a spray to kill cockroaches, stay out of the room until the smell goes away.

Foods

Some people with asthma have trouble eating certain foods. Certain foods have sulfites in them which can make their asthma symptoms worse.

  • Shrimp
  • Dried fruits
  • Processed potatoes
  • Wine
  • Beer

Do not eat these foods if they make your asthma symptoms get worse.

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