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Asthma Triggers Lurk Indoors in Winter

December 06, 2012; 11:35 AM
myOptumHealth.com

People who have seasonal allergies often view winter as a time of year to catch a break. The lack of airborne pollens and grasses has many of them breathing a sigh of relief.

But for some people with asthma, the wind and cold are just backdrops to a season of misery. This is because they are sensitive to indoor allergens. Spending more time inside brings greater exposure to dust, pet dander, mold, cockroaches, and other allergens.

Asthma triggers cause airways to swell and narrow, making it hard to breathe. But you can help prevent allergy-induced asthma symptoms in the home.

What you can do

Control dust mites

Dust mites are tiny bugs that live in dust. They are mostly found in mattresses, pillows, carpet, and bedding. Their droppings are a common allergy and asthma trigger. Be sure to:

-Cover mattresses and pillows with airtight covers.

-Keep household humidity below 40 percent.

-Remove carpets, rugs, and heavy curtains from bedrooms.

-Wash bedding in hot water every 7 to 10 days; dry in a hot dryer.

-Remove extra clutter that will collect dust.

-Dust weekly with a damp cloth. Wear a respirator when you dust.

-Vacuum rugs and carpets at least once a week.

Eliminate mold

Molds are microscopic fungi with spores that float in the air. Mold grows in moist places during the winter or areas that may not be routinely cleaned and disinfected:

-Windowsills

-Refrigerator seals

-Air vents

-Under kitchen sinks

-Shower ceilings

-Basements

Click through to read how to get rid of mold

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