Asthma is the most common long-term disease in children. A child having an asthma attack may experience coughing, chest tightness, difficulty in breathing, and wheezing.
When a child comes in contact with an asthma trigger, his airways may tighten and become inflamed. Once mucus blocks the airways, a child may then experience a worsening of his asthma symptoms. After exposure, the attacks can occur immediately, or it may occur at a later time.
The causes of asthma can vary from person to person. One child may have a reaction to a specific trigger, while it can be totally harmless to another child. In controlling asthma in children, parents need to follow the prescribed treatment of a doctor. However, parents can also reduce asthma attacks by taking steps to reduce asthma triggers at home. Here are common asthma triggers at home and ways on how to manage them:
1. Dust Mites
Dust mites can be found in every home. These are tiny insects that cannot be seen by the naked eye, but they can be found on furniture, mattresses, pillows, carpets, clothes, and even your child’s stuffed toys. Dust mites can also be found on other items in your home that are covered with fabric.
What you can do: Make sure that your child is not home when you clean your home. Regularly remove dust by using a damp cloth, and use a vacuum with high-efficiency filters. Wash sheets, blankets, and bedcovers in hot water at least once a week. Avoid using down-filled pillows, quilts or comforters. You may also maintain a low indoor humidity at home, which can be between 30 to 50% relative humidity.
2. Secondhand Smoke
Children are most vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke. It does not only trigger asthma attacks, but it may also make the attacks more severe. It is believed that secondhand smoke causes irritation in the airways of people with asthma.
What you can do: Make your home is smoke-free. Do not allow anybody in your family, or even guests to smoke in your home. Children who are exposed to high doses of secondhand smoke have the greatest risk of having detrimental effects.
3. Droppings or Body Parts of Cockroaches
Cockroaches thrive in areas with food and water sources because they rely on these to survive. The saliva and feces of cockroaches have proteins that can trigger asthma symptoms. Even the body parts of cockroaches can trigger an asthma attack.
What you can do: You can get rid of cockroaches by taking away their food and water source. Regularly clean counters, tables, floors and sinks. Make sure that your pipes don’t have leaks, and that the cracks or openings inside cabinets are sealed. It is also very important that you keep your food in airtight containers. You may also use traps or gels, which may help reduce the number of roaches in your home. If you plan to use sprays, follow the instructions carefully.
Molds are microscopic fungi that can grow on anything that has moisture. Molds can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and other common objects at home. In order to reproduce, molds produce tiny spores that can drift in the air inside or outside the home. A child with asthma can have an attack when mold spores are inhaled.
What you can do: The key to manage mold growth in your home is to control moisture. Be certain that you don’t have any leaky plumbing, and that you frequently clean drip pans of the appliances, which can be found in your home. Make use of exhaust fans or keep your windows open when cooking or showering. Try to keep the humidity in your home between 35 and 50 percent.
The urine, feces, saliva, dead skin flakes and hair of your pets can trigger asthma attacks. Animal dander from dogs, cats, hamsters, rodents, birds, and other household pets can cause an asthma attack.
What you can do: The best way to control the triggers caused by pets is to find another home for your pet. If you choose to keep your pet, you may keep your pet in only one area in your home. Try to keep your pet away from your child’s room, upholstered furniture, carpets and even toys. It is also important that you give your pet a regular bath, and to vacuum your home at least twice every week.
According to the CDC, asthma is the cause of 14 million lost days of missed school each year. Try to determine what causes your child’s asthma attacks, so that you can take steps in preventing it. Taking steps to manage your child’s asthma requires proper treatment through medications, and avoiding possible triggers. If your child’s asthma is properly managed, you can help guarantee that your child is not missing out on a lot of things at school, and at play.