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Simple steps can reduce indoor asthma triggers

Each year local, national and international organizations join together to increase public understanding of asthma and the environmental factors that can trigger an attack.

Americans spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, so it is important to be aware of the quality of the air you breathe inside your home. The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine found that exposure to secondhand smoke and indoor allergens such as dust mites, animal dander, cockroaches and mold can aggravate asthma symptoms. For preschool children, exposure to dust mites and secondhand smoke can trigger asthma attacks.

By taking a few simple steps you can reduce your exposure to common indoor environmental asthma triggers.

Reduce exposure to dust mites by covering mattresses and pillows with dustproof or allergen impermeable covers. Wash your bedding weekly in hot water.

Dust mites can be found in stuffed toys. Wash them often and keep them out of sleeping areas.

To reduce dust and pet dander, vacuum carpets, rugs and furniture two to three times per week.

Do not allow smoking inside your home. Tobacco smoke and secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack.

Control mold by controlling moisture in your home. When you see mold, clean the surface and dry it completely. Maintain low indoor humidity, ideally between 30 and 50 percent relative humidity.

To reduce cockroach and similar pests, eliminate clutter and store food in airtight containers. Keep kitchen and food areas clean. Use baits for roaches before using pesticide sprays. These are safer when children are in the home.

Work with your doctor to determine what environmental factors affect your asthma and develop a plan to manage those potential triggers.

Web posted on Thursday, May 12, 2011

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