Identifying your asthma triggers, and then working to reduce your contact with them, is an essential step in asthma control. Asthma triggers are closely related to allergy triggers, provided your asthma is allergic in nature, which most people's is. But some triggers are uniquely connected only with asthma, and these things are referred to as irritants, rather than allergens. You're not allergic to them, but they DO trigger asthma symptoms if you're sensitive to them.
Common Household Asthma Triggers
Some of the more common asthma triggers people with allergic asthma need to be aware of in the home include:
- Dust. Actually, it's not the dust itself you react to. It's tiny organisms that live in and feed on dust, called dust mites. Their wastes can trigger allergic asthma symptoms.
- Animal dander, urine & saliva. Household pets tend to leave lots of dander (tiny dead skin flakes), urine and saliva all through our home environments, which can also trigger asthma symptoms in sensitive people.
- Mold. Mold spores can be found in damp, dark areas, such as kitchens, bathrooms, cellars and attics. They can also be found in potting soil in potted plants.
Why You Should Asthma Proof Your Home
Avoiding these common home asthma triggers can be a real challenge. Some might even say it's impossible! But the efforts you work for can really pay off in terms of greater asthma control.
While the asthma medicines available today usually work great in controlling asthma symptoms, they'll have a hard time doing their job if you don't make any changes in your environment at all.
Here's something else to think about... Although taking asthma medicine may seem like a magic potion of sorts, the truth is that all medications have side effects, because they are a foreign substance you are taking into your body's inner workings. The side effects with asthma medicines are usually mild and often go away in time. But still, wouldn't it be nice to be able to take as little medicine as possible?
The way to achieve that and to enhance your degree of asthma control is to reduce your exposure to your asthma triggers as much as you possibly can.
Steps to Take
There are some concrete steps you can always take that will reap solid benefits for you in avoiding your triggers. It may not work 100 percent of the time, but isn't even a 75 percent improvement better than what happens if you do nothing at all?
1. Swap hardwood or tile floors for carpeting. Dust mites and animal dander can mount up quickly in carpeting. And it can be hard, even with daily vacuuming to get rid of all of them. So bare floors are much better for people with asthma. You can use a few throw rugs if you need to, for warmth.
2. Favor wood or leather furniture over upholstered furniture. Again, dust mites and pet dander will lodge in your furniture if you provide the environment. If you must have this type, then vacuum it frequently, and keep pets off it.