Do you know what triggers asthma?

December 20, 2010

Does your child have asthma? You may not be aware that the majority of asthma triggers may be in or around your home.

“Asthma triggers are in our natural environment and include mold, dust mites, pet dander, rodent and insect droppings, excessive moisture, chemical fumes, cleaning products, pesticides, and cigarette smoke,” says Genny Carrillo-Zuniga, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.P.H., Sc.D., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health McAllen campus.

The key to reducing or eliminating these asthma triggers is to follow the “Seven Healthy Homes Principles.” Parents should do their best to keep their home and surrounding areas dry, clean, ventilated, pest-free, safe, contaminant-free and well maintained, according to Dr. Carrillo-Zuniga.

Specific examples of actions that can be taken include repairing any water leaks inside or outside the home to avoid mold; keeping the home free of clutter to reduce dust and other allergens; limiting the number of plush toys in a child’s bedroom; keeping pets outdoors; using eco-friendly cleaning products; avoiding the use of pesticides; and assuring cigarettes are not smoked inside the home or in vehicles.

“Taking these simple multi-home interventions can greatly improve indoor air quality and the general environment of an asthmatic child, resulting in better respiratory health,” Dr. Carrillo-Zuniga says.

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