On the morn of World Asthma Day 2010; organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) with the yearly plan of cutting down asthma hospitalization by 50% it would be good to think over the domestic triggers of asthma and educate people about steps to eradicate this disease starting from the four walls of our home.
Home is where a person spends a large part of his time after and before he leaves for work and it could be the breeding ground for various triggers of asthma also. Many asthmatics have sensitivity to allergens at home, which include dust mites, mold, animal skin, animal fur, bird’s feathers and also the saliva of animals and birds. Besides insects like cockroaches could also be the cause of allergies.
The first method that could be used by asthmatics to reduce risks of having serious attacks is to have shots for flu and pneumonia every year. Besides it is best to avoid infections by avoiding people who have infections and also wash your hands after contact with them. It is also essential to keep your treatment options of nasal sprays and decongestants handy always.
Take best care to avoid dust mites in the home. They are found in sofas, beds, and carpets where the humidity may be high. It is best to avoid dust mites on pillow and mattresses by covering them with plastic or impermeable fabric cover. Besides humidity is to be controlled and carpets are to be cleaned and dusted and children’s stuffed toys should be washed regularly.
Avoid asthma triggers like mold spores, which cause allergic rhinitis in asthmatics. It is best to clean wet and damp places like air conditioning vents, water traps, refrigerator drip trays, shower stalls, leaky sinks, and damp basements regularly. In addition, reduce humidity by avoiding standing plants, removing houseplants and correcting leakages in sinks and showers to prevent growth of molds. Sinks, tubs, and other surfaces should be cleaned at least every four weeks with dilute bleach.
It is best to disinfect garbage bins and dry them. Besides dampness should be eliminated from the basement and all other places, besides old books, newspapers and wet carpets should be discarded. An electric dehumidifier would prove very useful. Besides asthmatics should prefer to spend more time in the upper floors which are comparatively freer of moisture.
Asthma is highly triggered by protein from animal dander in the form of dead skin cells, scales, saliva, urine of pet animals. These animals include dogs, cats, reptiles, turtles and fish which provide excellent ways to breed mites. So it is advised that asthmatics do not keep pets that may affect them or they should restrict their movement to certain parts of the home only. When the pet is given away, the whole house including carpets, sofas, curtain, and bedding should be thoroughly cleaned.
Cockroaches, pests in many homes should be eliminated because their droppings can trigger asthmatic attacks since they generally thrive well where food and water. Cleanliness effected by removing garbage and food wastes regularly, washing and cleaning cooking and eating vessels immediately before and after use and removing the cockroach debris regularly can really help. Efforts should be made to kill or trap them.
Air purifiers help to purify the air and prevent asthma attacks, however the ozone produced may irritate the respiratory organs and trigger asthmatic attacks. Cleanliness of the heating and cooling system prevents dust, mites and moles and asthmatic attacks. However air filters are effective in removing animal dander and pollen, but it cannot eliminate residues left on carpeting, and upholstered furniture.
However a vacuum cleaner with high-efficiency particulate air filtering system and double thickness bags can help to eliminate allergens. But even this could avoid reduction in allergies due to cat or dog dander but will not allow dust mite allergy levels to improve.
So, my dear friends, lets all take all the steps to avoid triggers of allergy and aim at reducing the asthma hospitalization by 50%.