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Controlling Asthma


 

 

Taking the following actions will substantially reduce asthma causing dust, dust mites, chemical and environmental pollutants, animal dander, and molds in your environment.

 

In The Bedroom:

            Encase pillows, comforters, mattresses, and box springs in zippered, allergen impermeable, dust proof casings.  Avoid purchasing foam rubber pillows and mattresses as they are more likely to harbor molds.

 

            Wash blankets, sheets, pillowcases, and mattress pads every other week in hot water (130 degrees F+).  Hot water kills dust mites.  Cold or warm water does not.

 

            If you have wall-to-wall carpeting in your bedroom, remove it if possible.  In addition to being the single most chemically-treated household appointment, carpeting acts a host for a multitude of allergic agents.  If this is not possible to remove wall-to-wall carpeting from your bedroom, periodically apply a solution of tannic acid to inactivate allergy-causing dust products that routinely emanate from carpeting.

 

            If you have a forced air heating system in your home, cover the air vents in your bedroom with air filters to clean the air at the point of entry.  If you have a central air heating and/or cooling system, install an electrostatic filter to clean air before it is distributed throughout your house.

 

            Avoid using heavy curtains and/or venetian blinds to cover bedroom windows.  If possible, purchase window shades.  Shades are less likely to accumulate irritants than curtains or blinds.  If you use curtains in your bedroom, launder them frequently.  If you use blinds, clean them often.

 

            If possible, purchase hardwood furniture instead of upholstered furniture.  Soft furnishings are more likely to collect and harbor dust and other allergens than hardwood furnishings.  If you purchase upholstered furniture, buy only furniture covered in leather or cloth and constructed with an additional allergen barrier.

 

Throughout the House:

If possible, remove wall-to-wall carpeting throughout your home.  If this is not possible, regularly apply a solution of tannic acid to neutralize allergy-causing dust products that come from carpeting.

 

Cover the forced hot air vents in each room with air filters to clean the air at the point of entry.  Install an electrostatic filter in central air systems.

 

Avoid using heavy curtains and/or venetian blinds to cover windows.  Window shades are less likely to collect dust and other irritants.  If you use curtains, launder them frequently.  If you use blinds, clean them often.

 

If possible, purchase hardwood furniture instead of upholstered furniture.  soft furnishings are more likely to collect and harbor dust and other allergens than hardwood furnishings.  if you purchase upholstered furniture, buy only furniture covered in leather or cloth and constructed with an additional allergen barrier.

 

Install a high quality HEPA./charcoal air cleaner to remove airborne allergen particles, molds, animal dander and pollutants.  The filter of the air cleaner should be sized to the room dimensions and the air cleaner should process four to ix air exchanges per hour.  Air cleaners should not be placed directly on carpeting as their exhaust may blow dust and other contaminants harbored in the carpeting into the air.

 

Control heat and humidity with an air-conditioner.  Use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture.  Heat and humidity stimulate dust mite and mold growth.,  While dust mites reproduce rapidly in environments of 75-80% humidity, they cannot live in environments of less than 50% humidity.  A humidity level of 40% or less will eliminate dust mites.  Use a gauge to monitor humidity levels in your home.  Avoid over humidification of the air in the winter.  If using a humidifier, change the water and clean the humidifier frequently to prevent mold growth.

 

Avoid common dust collectors such as cloth wall hangings, stuffed animals, and piles ofclothing, bed and/or bath linens.  Washable stuffed animals should be laundered frequently in hot water.  Clothing, bed and/or bath linens should be kept in closets and/or cupboards with the doors closed.

 

Wear a well-fitting face mask when doing house cleaning and other chores or delegate such responsibilities to someone else.  Clean surface, drawers and closets with a cloth treated to increase dust removal.

 

Purchase a vacuum cleaner specially designed to trap and contain dust and other allergens.  Avoid using canister type vacuums with a bag and exhaust port.  Vacuum weekly wearing a well-fitting face mask.

 

Check household gas appliances for leaks.

 

Drink unpolluted water.  Have you household water tested or install a reverse osmosis water filter to remove chlorine, chlorine byproducts, volatile organic chemicals, fluoride, bacteria, toxic metals and sediment.

 

Clean up Your Home, Office and World:

If you smoke, stop.  Avoid exposure to second had tobacco smoke.

 

Avoid using mothballs, furniture polishes and air-fresheners.  Substitute non-toxic,

environmentally-friendly alternatives for chemical-based products.

 

Replace chemical-based household cleaners, paints, stripers, pesticides and garden

products with less toxic or non-toxic alternatives.  Store all necessary volatile chemicals

outside.

 

Replace chemical-based personal care products with unscented, non-toxic alternatives.

Avoid the use of hair spray and perfumes.

 

When handling household, lawn or garden chemicals, do so in a well-ventilated area and

wear a well-fitting face mask.

 

Purchase chemical-free, pure cotton clothing and bedding.

 

Avoid Unseen Molds:

Well-insulated homes prevent the release of interior moisture and indoor pollutants.  This promotes the growth of molds and a build-up of toxins.  Ventilate your home frequently by opening windows.  This allows for a drying of interior dampness and a release of indoor toxins.

 

Limit the number of houseplants inside your home as they can be a source of mold spores.

 

Avoid using a fireplace or wood-burning stove.  Mold is usually present on the bark of the wood and burning wood emits a high quantity of indoor particulate matter and pollutants into the air.

 

Empty water pans below self-defrosting refrigerators regularly.

 

Use an exhaust fan during or open a window immediately after showering to minimize humidity in the bathroom.

 

Secure the vent to your clothes dryer outside of your home.  Dry clothes immediately after washing.

 

Avoid installing carpeting and/or padding on a concrete and/or basement floor.  Cover dirt

basement floors with a plastic vapor barrier.  An allergic person would not locate their

bedroom on the basement level of a home because of the molds common to such areas.

 

Avoid occupational exposures to molds.

 

Reduce Allergic Reactions To Cats In Particular and Animals In General:

Contrary to common belief, a protein in the saliva and dander of cats, not their hair, is what

produces allergic reactions in humans.  This allergen is particularly sticky and may be carried

on clothing and belongings from places with cats to areas without cats.  Cat allergen may also

remain airborne for long periods of time.

 

Airborne allergen from any animal dander may be reduced by opening windows, using

exhaust fans and/or installing high-efficiency air cleaners and filters.

 

Soft furnishings, such as carpets, mattresses and upholstered furniture may hold cat allergen

for up to twenty weeks after the cat's removal from the environment.  For this reason, cats

should be kept out of bedrooms and their access to other areas in the home strictly limited.

Pets should be washed regularly to reduce the amount of allergen produced.  Cats should be

washed weekly for three weeks and then every two to three weeks thereafter to reduce

dander.

 

Consult with your veterinarian for other non-toxic means of reducing animal dander.