Asthma is a chronic respiratory illness that effects both children and adults. It is characterized by wheezing, coughing during the night and early morning as well as feeling short of breath or tightness in the chest. During an asthma attack your airways shrink and mucus produced by your body clog the narrow spaces, preventing oxygen from getting through.
Asthma symptoms may include wheezing, coughing, a feeling of tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing. If left untreated an asthma attack could be fatal.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with asthma the first step your doctor will take is to prescribe a rescue inhaler and for more severe illness he may prescribe additional prevention medications like Singulair or Advair. These medications help to reduce the symptoms of asthma by either blocking leukotrienes or reducing inflammation of the bronchial airways.
Alone prescription medications help resist triggers after they enter the body and typically provide satisfactory asthma control. Imagine the level of asthma control you could have if you also resist triggers BEFORE they gain access? This is where environmental controls take the upper hand.
Environmental Triggers That Impact Your Asthma
Managing asthma demands an awareness of external triggers. Common triggers pointed out over and over again include; smoke, pet dander, allergies from dust, air pollution, mold, and cockroach allergies. But knowing what to do about it is not as readily available.
Managing environmental controls is easier than you might think. There are three areas you need to focus your efforts; the bedroom, how you clean and the air you breathe.
Step 1: Reduce exposure to dust mites: To reduce dust mites first purchase encasements for your mattress, box springs and pillows. Encasements come in a variety of materials and pore size. To block dust mites you need to select bedding with a pore size smaller than 10 microns. If you want to also block pet dander and mold you want to purchase an encasement with a pore size smaller than 3 microns.
Once you’ve covered your mattress and box springs remove all upholstered furniture, carpeting where possible and stuffed animals from your bedroom. Dust mites are able to survive in in any soft fabric that provides protection from the light.
Step #2: Change How You Clean: How you clean your home has a direct impact on the number of triggers floating around the air you breathe or settling on the surfaces of your home waiting to be stirred up. When sweeping carpeted floors it’s important to invest in a high quality vacuum that traps particles smaller than 3 microns, uses self-sealing technology and is versatile for various floor heights. My two favorite vacuums are the Miele S7 series as well as the Kirby vacuums.
For hard surfaces invest in microfiber dust cloths and brooms. These fabrics are designed to attract and cling to dust as you clean the surfaces. As an alternative you can use a damp, not wet, cloth for dusting surfaces and hard floors.
For the most effective elimination of triggers it’s recommended to dust, sweep and vacuum every 2 or 3 days at a minimum. Daily cleaning is preferred for optimal removal of triggers.
Step #3: Clean the Air In Your Home: The final step in eliminating environmental triggers is to clean the air you breathe every day. The most efficient way to do this is with quality air purifiers that are built to eliminate dust, pet dander, smoke and chemicals. Remember that asthma attacks are triggered by all of them so your air purifier needs to be up to speed. My two favorites for asthma sufferers are Living Air Purifiers and Blueair Purifiers.
There are other recommendations out there such as placing special screens on your window and having your entire heating/cooling duct systems cleaned. Both of these options may offer some benefit but have not shown a huge change in symptoms across the board so they should be considered optional and after further study on your part.
Taking steps to manage your asthma through environmental controls is supported and recommended by doctors and allergy specialists for optimal asthma control. These are a few simple steps to get you going towards your goal of symptom relief.
You can also try to strengthen you lungs with a Power Lung exercise device, check it out over at the BHI Store.
About the Author:
Mikki Hogan lives in North Carolina with her husband and children. Having lived with asthma most of her adult life she has found the most success with controlling her asthma symptoms through proper management of house mites, dust and pet dander.