Page 483

Asthma Control Checklist

If your child has asthma, you’ll want to have an Asthma Action Plan (see posting for page 484). This page lists some common asthma triggers in homes, and what you can do about them.

  • Don’t allow cigarette smoke in your home. Smoking outside is better, but not smoking at all is even better.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter.  HEPA filters get rid of many small particles that cause asthma, like bits from dust mites and other bugs.
  • Take up carpets, if you can, especially in bedrooms.
  • Take down heavy drapes, which can harbor dust mites.
  • Use a plastic mattress cover that fully encases the mattress (not just the top), and that closes with a zipper.  Duct tape over the zipper.  This way, any tiny particles of mold in the mattress don’t get out.
  • Do the same with pillows: plastic cover, tape over the zipper. Feather pillows (and comforters) can be a trigger. Get rid of them, or encase them.
  • Wash any stuffed animals, and dry them on hot, to remove dust mites. Do this often.
  • In summer, use a window air conditioner, so that incoming air is filtered.
  • Replace furnace and air conditioner filters regularly (every 3 months).
  • Look for damp spots, especially mold in the basement; get rid of it.
  • Keep humidity moderate – not too low, not too high.
  • If you have pets, check to make sure your child isn’t allergic to them.
  • Don’t make fires in the fireplace; make sure the chimney is closed off with the damper.
  • In cold weather, make sure to open windows daily to let out stale air (that has allergens in it)

This isn’t a complete list, of course.  Look around, and sniff around.  Any fumes can set off asthma (including “air fresheners,” perfumes, cleaning supplies). If asthma is worse over night, look closely at the bedroom.

You can learn more from the CDC and also from the EPA:

[this page was last updated by Robert Needlman, on 11-25-2018]

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