Asthma attacks, in which heightened mucus production and bronchial inflammation combine to constrict the airways, are terrifying for sufferers. Usually, we believe that outdoor factors contribute the most to asthma, like airborne pollen, auto emissions, and general air pollution. However, if you’re sensitive to the substances that often cause asthma attacks, you’re likely to find more of them in the home than outside. If any of the most common indoor asthma triggers are in your home, you need to find a way to deal with them or get rid of them. Here’s what to look for.
You don’t need to be a smoker yourself to suffer the adverse effects of smoking. Secondhand smoke lingers in the air long after someone has stopped smoking, and the airborne particles in that smoke often settle into porous surfaces such as clothing, upholstery, and carpeting, where they can irritate the airways. Anyone in the household who still has a smoking habit should take it outside or give it up completely.
While some bugs like spiders are actually allies of ours, trapping and eating pesky insects, the cockroach offers no benefits to you or your family at all. In fact, the excrement of these large and ancient insects contains proteins and enzymes that throw our immune systems into overdrive, leading to the inflammation that triggers many asthma attacks. If cockroaches have become a problem in your home, you may need an exterminator to deal with these famously resilient pests once and for all.
Like cockroaches, dust mites and their excrement can sound a false alarm in the immune system. To reduce the effect of dust mites, be diligent in vacuuming, lay down less carpet, and launder bedding frequently—dust mites hate high heat and humidity.
Here’s one that can bedevil you both indoors and outdoors. While seasonal outbursts of airborne mold spores prove the most troublesome outside, where the immune system can mistake benign spores as pathogens, mold is one of the most common indoor asthma triggers. It often takes the form of a developed colony. We usually find mold growth in dark and damp places such as bathrooms, basements, and underneath kitchen sinks. Dishes that find their way into bedrooms but don’t make it to the dishwasher on time often become informal petri dishes for mold. Mold growth in the home causes many illnesses, including asthma attacks, infections, and allergic rhinitis.