UGA GreenWay News

A Greener Way of Living, at Home and Abroad

How to Reduce Asthma & Allergy Triggers in Your Home

Here comes company…

It is a given fact that every one of us has visitors in our home throughout the year.  Sure, some of us entertain more than others, but whether we like it or not we all have the occasional house guest. If it’s not family visiting during the holidays, then it’s the delivery person, a co-worker, friends visiting from out of town, or the monthly book club.  It is also true that not all of our house guests come in human form.  I’m not talking about aliens – that is for another day –I am talking about the critters, dust mites, roaches, and other indoor environmental asthma triggers that easily enter our homes and greatly affect the people who follow them inside.  The EPA estimates that around 25 million people in the U.S. suffer from asthma with around 7 million of those being children.  That’s a lot of people!  LOTS of things in our homes that could lead to an asthma attack or allergic reaction.

Asthma_triggers_2So what can you do?  Don’t let me lose you here – I’m not about to ask you to spend exorbitant amounts of money on ventilation systems or breathing masks – many asthma triggers can be wiped out with a little bit of elbow grease and a five-letter verb: CLEAN.  Get rid of the dirt, pollen, pet hair, pests, mold and smoke in and around your home.  When you are cleaning, don’t add to the problem by using lots of chemicals and aerosols, instead use the University of Georgia Extension green cleaning recipes.  In addition to cleaning more often and using fewer harsh chemicals, here are 5 more things you can do to reduce asthma triggers in your home.

1.  Eliminate tobacco smoke by not allowing people to smoke inside

2.  Control dust mites by washing all bedding in hot water once a week

3.  Reduce dust by cleaning hard surfaces with a microfiber wipe or damp cloth

4.  Keep indoor humidity below 50%.  One way to reduce moisture is to use bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans.

5.  Vacuum carpets and fabric-covered furniture at least once a week to reduce pet hair and dust.  If you suffer from asthma buy a vacuum with a high efficiency (HEPA) filter.

There are plenty of other things that can trigger a reaction, including: outdoor air pollution, physical exercise, stress and strong fragrances, but a clean house goes a long way in keeping your family healthy and your guests from having to break out the emergency inhaler.

You can learn more about asthma triggers on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website or from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

allison

This blog was written by Guest Blogger Allison Freeman Williams, Senior Economics and International Business student at the University of Georgia, and Healthy Homes Student Intern

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About Pamela Turner

I am an Associate Professor and Extension Housing & Environment Specialist at the University of Georgia. I have a passion for helping people improve their home environment and live greener and healthier lives. An important part of that is helping people weed through all of the information to find trustworthy sources. www.gafamilies.org/home

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