A home is the ultimate safe place for most people.

It’s the place that should be devoid of danger, a place that you’re supposed to feel completely comfortable in which to raise your children.

There’s been a strong focus on educating the public to the accidental injuries that can occur in the home, particularly centered around unpredictable accidents such as appliance faults, accidental fires and falls.

Whilst great progress has been made in making homes safer from such accidents, there’s been a worrying oversight when it comes to long-term illnesses, such as asthma, that can be exacerbated by a build up of certain stimuli within the home.

There are over 2 million people in Canada who suffer from asthma and countless others with various allergies.

Many of those individuals are children with asthma. If you have a child with asthma you know that attacks can be dangerous. The results of an asthmatic attack or allergic reaction can be severe, not only in terms of your health but also the missed days of work or school and the preventable trips to the E.R.

Fortunately,there are a number of preventable actions you can take to ensure your home is the safest possible place for children with asthma.

Potential Asthma Triggers In Your Home

Triggers are, for the majority of people, usually harmless and thus often go unnoticed. Unfortunately for those who suffer from asthma or allergies, a usually harmless trigger can cause a severe reaction and a potential trip to the E.R.

Below you’ll find a list of the 5 most prevalent triggers and, whilst nearly impossible to eradicate them all, identifying them is the first step in reducing risk and avoiding a reaction:

  1. Pollution and Pollen – This rather broad category can include anything from cigarette smoke and traffic exhaust fumes to plant pollen.
  2. Pets – Pet hair is also a major cause of irritation. Households that have furry or feathery pets may well be placing themselves at risk of a reaction.
  3. Dust Mites – A common trigger found in many houses. Dust mites themselves do not cause the reaction, however, their droppings can become airborne and elicit an allergic reaction in those with asthma.
  4. Mould Spores – It’s no secret that mould builds in damp areas. If not treated, the spores released can cause an allergic reaction in certain people.
  5. Chemicals and Aerosol Sprays – Much like many other items on this list, the strong scents of chemical cleaners and aerosol distribution of perfume like products can cause agitation in many people.

What You Can Do to Make Your Home Safer

Once you’ve identified the potential triggers in your home it shouldn’t be too hard for you to take appropriate action to minimize the chance of a reaction. Below you’ll find a number of suggested actions to combat the aforementioned triggers, actions, which should be applicable to the majority of households.

  • Ideally you’ll be able to keep all windows closed during times when the pollen count is at it’s highest (early morning and late evening) or all day if living close to a busy traffic area. If this isn’t an option for you, consider running the air con intermittently as this will help filter the air.
  • Whilst family pets are now often considered a member of the family, if causing an allergic reaction in a child it may be time to consider moving the animal outdoors. This will cut down on the amount of shed hair within the house drastically reducing the chances of an allergic reaction.
  • Regular cleaning will have a huge effect on the reduction of dust, dust mites and mould around the house. Unfortunately there will be areas that are difficult to reach, such as your ventilation system. Organize regular checks and cleaning of your ventilation ducts to ensure there’s no build up of dust, mould or other allergens that can be spread around the house.
  • Cleaning your house can be something of a catch 22. Not cleaning causes issues with the spread of dust and mould, using chemical products can also contribute to asthmatic reactions. Ensuring you’re cleaning in a well-ventilated area, using a damp cloth to tackle dust and only using liquid or solid cleaning chemicals should help reduce the risk of airborne irritants.

For more information about cleaning your homes air ducts and dryer vents, please contact us today!

Image: NIAID