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How to Control Things That Make Your Asthma Worse


Asthma Triggers

Animal Dander

Some people are allergic to the flakes of skin or dried saliva from animals with fur or feathers. The best thing to do:

  • Keep furred or feathered pets out of your home.

If you can't keep the pet outdoors, then:

  • Keep the pet out of your bedroom and keep the bedroom door closed.
  • Cover the air vents in your bedroom with heavy material to filter the air.*
  • Remove carpets and furniture covered with cloth from your home. If that is not possible, keep the pet out of the rooms where these are.

Cockroach

Many people with asthma are allergic to the dried droppings and remains of cockroaches.

  • Keep all food out of your bedroom.
  • Keep food and garbage in closed containers (never leave food out).
  • Use poison baits, powders, gels, or paste (for example, boric acid). You can also use traps.
  • If a spray is used to kill roaches, stay out of the room until the odor goes away.

Vacuum Cleaning

Vacuum cleaning stirs up dust and can trigger asthma attacks. Here are some suggestions:

  • Try to get someone else to vacuum for you once or twice a week, if you can. Stay out of rooms while they are being vacuumed and for a short while afterward.
  • If you vacuum, use a dust mask (from a hardware store), a double-layered or microfilter vacuum cleaner bag,* or a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.*

Indoor Mold

Mold is a common indoor allergen and asthma trigger. Try these tips:

  • Fix leaky faucets, pipes, or other sources of water.
  • Clean moldy surfaces with a cleaner that has bleach in it.

Pollen and Outdoor Mold

What to do during your allergy season (when pollen or mold spore counts are high):

  • Try to keep your windows closed.
  • Stay indoors with windows closed during the midday and afternoon, if you can. Pollen and some mold spore counts are highest at that time.
  • Ask your doctor whether you need to take or increase anti-inflammatory medicine before your allergy season starts.

Smoke, Strong Odors, and Sprays

All of these can trigger asthma attacks. Here are things you can do:

  • If possible, do not use a wood-burning stove, kerosene heater, or fireplace.
  • Try to stay away from strong odors and sprays, such as perfume, talcum powder, hair spray, and paints.

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