Any one or a combination of these can make an asthmatic cough, wheeze, and have trouble breathing.
A 2004 U.S. National Institutes of Health study found removing various allergens or the substances that cause an allergic reaction from the home can be effective in reducing symptoms among children, ages five to 11 years, with moderate to severe asthma—specifically if a multipronged approach was used.
The study examined the children’s sensitivity to certain indoor allergens and evidence of exposures at home to known asthma triggers, including tobacco smoke, dust mites, cockroaches, pets, rodents, and molds. Researchers noted the greater the drop in household cockroach or dust mite allergen levels, the greater the reduction in asthma symptoms—suggesting allergy-reducing measures can make a difference.
Dr. Arturo Ludan, a pediatrician at the Capitol Medical Center in Mandaluyong City, suggests top three rules to keep the house clean and irritants-free:
- Avoid accumulating too many things (books, magazines, boxes) that can gather dust.
- Do not use strong pesticides, perfume, and hairspray in the presence of a family member with asthma as these trigger attacks.
- Say no to cigarette smoke.
Dr. Ludan adds, “The most harmful environmental allergen is cigarette smoke, not just first-hand but secondhand and third-hand smoke as it sticks to the sofa, drapes, etc. In other words, there should absolutely be no smoking inside or outside the house.”