How To Reduce Asthma Triggers in the Home
If it seems like there are more people suffering for asthma these days, it’s because it’s true. From 2001- 2011, the CDC estimates the number of Americans with asthma rose 28 percent, and by 50% in African American children between 2001-2009. So what’s causing this increase, and what can we do about it? Read on for the basic information you need to know on asthma, and our top 3 tips for reducing asthma triggers in the home.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a respiratory condition that causes the airway to narrow and restricts breathing. Approximately 1 in 13 people are affected by asthma. Two of the most common types of asthma are allergic and non-allergic. Allergic asthma is the most common form of asthma and is caused or worsened by allergies to things like fragrances, pollen, spores, dust mites and pet dander. Non-allergic asthma is caused by other factors like exercise, stress, smoke and airway infections.
What’s causing the rise in asthma?
Some of the theories as to the rise of asthma today are that our over-sanitizing of a child’s environment has led to decreased disease resistance (not to mention all the crazy toxins that are present in common hand sanitizers). Other theories point to environmental factors, like increased airborne pollen from climate change, air pollution or taking antibiotics too often.
Our Top 3 Tips For Reducing Asthma Triggers in the Home
- Eliminate Scents And Fragrances
This is a big one and the good news is, it’s a relatively easy step that can make a huge difference! Scented cleaning products, as well as personal care products, contain chemicals that we breath in and are linked to all kinds of health problems including respiratory problems like asthma. And the sad truth about fragrances are that they’re not as innocuous as they may seem. A product with the word “fragrance” on a label can contain a cocktail of up to 100 toxic chemicals, none of which have to be disclosed by the manufacturer as they are considered “trade secrets.” Fragrance ingredients also aren’t required to be safety tested before they are sold. Even “natural” fragrances, or those from essential oils, can be asthma triggers.
- Control Critters
For the ones you want in your home, like dogs and cats, the good news is you may be able to coexist without exacerbating asthma symptoms. By taking precautions, like limiting pets access to bedrooms, and changing bedding and vacuuming frequently, you may be able to control the dander sufficiently to avoid asthma symptoms. Then ensure you don’t have any allergy-triggering critters like cockroaches and mice around. It’s a good idea to use an environmentally-friendly pest control service to ensure your sensitive family members are not exposed to harmful waste particles from pests that can trigger asthmatic reactions, or harmful chemicals used to control pests! Not sure how to find an environmentally-friendly pest control company? Start here.
- Identify Food Allergies
Most people don’t know that food allergies can trigger asthma attacks. Some common food allergies are eggs, dairy, nuts and shellfish, but even additives can cause reactions, like the ones used in dried fruit. Reach out to your doctor to help identify a resource to test for food allergies in your family, or get started with a home kit like the food testing kit from EverlyWell.
At Force of Nature, we take safety seriously and are dedicated to helping our customers learn about eco-friendly cleaning solutions that won’t expose their family to the harmful chemicals that can trigger allergies and asthma. You can learn more about our family friendly cleaning system, Force of Nature, and the science behind electrolyzed water here.
We also recommend checking out resources like the Environmental Working Group cleaning product recommendations (and ones to avoid!) as well as the Center for Disease Control’s list of agencies currently working on asthma.