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Asthma prevention when you have allergies

Allergies and asthma are strongly linked, and asthma attacks can be triggered by allergic reactions.

Here are some tips to help prevent allergic asthma by avoiding some of the most common allergy triggers at home:

Dust mite prevention

To prevent asthma and allergies when you have dust mite allergies, consider trying the following strategies:

  • Encasing pillows, mattresses and bed bases with allergen-proof, zipped covers.
  • Washing all bedding in hot water once a week.
  • Do not allow smoking in your house.
  • Wearing a mask and gloves when cleaning, vacuuming, or painting to limit dust and chemical exposure.
  • Vacuuming twice a week.
  • Limiting rugs and throws so as to reduce dust and mould. If you do have rugs and throws, make sure they are washable.
  • Avoiding dust-collecting Venetian/slatted blinds or long curtains, pelmets, etc. Consider replacing old curtains with roller blinds. Washable curtains should be washed in hot water every two to four weeks.
  • Non-carpeted flooring is best. When possible, choose hardwood floors instead of carpeting. If you must have carpeting, choose low-pile material. If you cannot get rid of your carpeting, vacuum often with a multi-layer, allergen-proof vacuum bag or a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Wear a mask while vacuuming. If your child has asthma, do not vacuum while he or she is in the room. Products that eliminate dust mites from carpeting (such as sprays) can be purchased. Your asthma nurse or pharmacist can give you information about these products.
  • Dusting all surfaces with a damp cloth often, including lampshades and windowsills.
  • Keeping clutter under control. Toys and books should be stored in enclosed bookshelves, drawers or cupboards.
  • Replacing traditional stuffed animals with washable stuffed animals.
  • Keeping all clothing in drawers and cupboards. Keep drawers and cupboards closed.
  • Pillows and bedding should not contain feathers.
  • Keeping indoor humidity low (25 - 50%). Consider using a dehumidifier.
  • Regularly cleaning or changing filters on heaters, air conditioners, and air purifiers.

Mould and mildew prevention

For asthma prevention when you have mould and mildew allergies, consider trying the following suggestions:

  • Airing out damp, humid areas frequently. Consider running a dehumidifier to keep humidity between 25 and 50%.
  • Using air conditioners when possible.
  • Cleaning bathrooms regularly using products that kill and prevent mould. Using exhaust fans to vent steam. Do not carpet the bathroom.
  • Keeping indoor plants out of bedrooms.
  • When painting, add mould inhibitor to paint to prevent mould from growing.
  • Avoiding sources of outdoor moulds, such as wet leaves or garden debris.
  • To clean visible mould, use a cleaning solution containing 5% bleach and a small amount of detergent.
  • Washing shower curtains and bathroom tiles with mould-killing solutions.
  • Avoiding areas where moulds may collect, including basements, garages, crawl spaces, outhouses, and compost heaps. Getting someone else clean to these areas often.
  • Airing out damp clothes and shoes (in the house) before storing.
  • Removing laundry from the washing machine promptly. Do not leave wet clothes in the washing machine where mould can quickly grow.
  • Do not collect too many indoor plants as soil encourages mould growth.
  • Storing firewood outside.
  • Avoiding raking leaves or working with hay or mulch if you are allergic to mould.
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