Asthma Childhood Safe Homes

Asthma-safe homes are essential havens for asthmatic children. While parents can’t control every asthma trigger their child encounters, they can provide children with homes where asthma symptoms are unlikely. Some asthma home remedies are easily accomplished, such as avoiding smoking at home. Others are more difficult, costly affairs, such as removing wall to wall carpet and replacing it with hard flooring. Other asthma home remedies can be heartrending, such as explaining to your child that the family pet has to find a new home.

Asthma Attacks and Triggers

Asthma symptoms develop when a person is exposed to an asthma trigger. Not every asthmatic child has the same asthma triggers. Substances and circumstances that can spark an asthma attack include, but are not limited to:

  • air pollution
  • cockroaches
  • cold weather
  • dust mites
  • exercise
  • pet dander
  • pollen
  • strong odors.

Once the lungs are exposed to an asthma trigger, the bronchial airways spasm, becoming inflamed and swollen. The child may wheeze while breathing, cough, and have difficulty breathing. A severe asthma attack is life threatening.

Asthma Home Remedies

The home should be a safe place for children. For asthmatic children, however, the home can be a dangerous place. Some of the most common asthma triggers are found right in the home.

Where There’s Smoke . . . .

Tobacco smoke irritates even the healthiest of lungs, and can be a potent asthma trigger. If your child has asthma it’s best to avoid smoking in the home. Wood smoke from fireplaces and wood-burning stoves can also cause asthma symptoms, and are best avoided around asthmatic kids.

Smoke isn’t the only lung irritant found in the home. Strong odors, from perfume and household cleaners, are possible allergy triggers. Asthma home remedies include replacing heavily scented cleaning products with unscented, asthma-safe products. Use of perfume and cologne may need to be limited or avoided around the child.

Over half of American homes use gas stoves. Unfortunately, gas stoves produce nitrogen dioxide, which may irritate your child’s lungs. Replacing the gas stove with an electric model may be necessary.

Allergies and Asthma-Safe Homes

Allergies are common asthma triggers, and some very common allergens may be right at home in your house. Dust mites are perhaps the most common cause of household allergies. Miniscule creatures that feed mostly on shed human skin, dust mites and their droppings can cause asthma symptoms when inhaled.

It’s not possible to eradicate dust mites from your home, but it is possible to minimize the asthmatic child’s exposure to the tiny pests. Asthma home remedies that reduce dust mites include:

  • covering pillows, mattresses and box springs with sheeting to prevent contact with dust mites
  • keeping the child’s room free of clutter
  • limiting stuffed toys and washing them regularly
  • replacing wall-to-wall carpet with hard flooring
  • washing linen in hot water with asthma-safe detergents.

Pets are another source of asthma triggering allergies, unfortunately. If the asthmatic child has a pet allergy the best way to ensure an asthma-safe house is, unfortunately, to find a new home for the pet. Even if you chose to give up your pet, don’t expect your child’s asthma to improve overnight. It can take months before levels of pet dander lower enough to provide your child with relief.

Heating Options and Asthma-safe Homes

Your home’s heating system may provide your biggest challenge when it comes to making your house asthma-safe. Forced air heating, although common, makes maintaining asthma-safe houses very difficult. Dust mites, pet dander and other allergens may settle into the heating vents when not in use, only to be blown back into the air when the heater is again used.

The most effective remedy for asthma triggers that lurk in forced air heating is also one of the most expensive of all asthma home remedies: the forced air system can be replaced with a hot water baseboard heating system. This simply isn’t practical or affordable for many families.

If heating vents are interfering with your asthma home remedies, some steps are available to take. Specially made filters are available that can be placed over heating vent openings, although it’s more effective to simply close the heating vent to the child’s bedroom.

Replacing the heating system filter on a regular basis and scheduling regular duct cleaning is also recommended. A good quality HEPA filter can also remove allergens blown into the air by heating ducts.

Molds and Humidity

Molds are microscopic plant-like organisms that thrive in damp, dark environments. Mold often grows in basements or bathrooms, and is a possible asthma trigger.

Molds can be killed with asthma-safe cleaning products. Repairing leaky plumbing and using a dehumidifier where mold grows can help prevent the asthma trigger from returning.

Resources

Nemours Foundation. (2007, June). Creating an asthma-safe home. Retrieved March 22, 2009, from the Kids Health Web site: http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/asthma/asthma_home.html.

SixWise (2005, September 21). 12 steps to making your home an asthma-safe environment. Retrieved March 22, 2009, from the SixWise Web site: http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/09/21/12_steps_to_making_your_home_an_asthma-safe_environment.htm.