According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, around two and a half million Aussies – or 11% of the total population – suffer from asthma.
With the sudden change of weather conditions often triggering an attack, many are bracing for their most vulnerable time of year, and as we welcome warmer temperatures and the change of seasons, now is the time to make your home asthma-friendly, whether it be for yourself, your children, partner or guests. To safeguard against asthma attacks this winter, Amcal Senior Pharmacist James Nevile shares his tips for keeping your household free from asthmagens.
“It’s critical to remove as many triggers as possible – from removing dust mites and animal dander, to introducing flora and eco-friendly cleaning products – and implementing clever techniques to ensure they won’t return,” he said.
Eliminate the dust
Vacuuming with a HEPA filter captures the finer particles that trigger asthma symptoms, and installing extractor fans and air vents throughout the home will improve ventilation, removing asthmagens from the environment.
Use gentle cleaning products
In preparation for your clean, spending a few short minutes reading product labelling will bring great benefit to you (and others). Bleach and other chemicals such as monoethanolamine, diethanolamine and triethanolamine typically found in tile cleaners and laundry detergents contain asthmagens, as well as ammonia in window and mirror-cleaning products. The eco-friendly alternatives are generally the safest, and blending white vinegar with water is an affordable and safe substitute!
Invest in protecting your health
Don’t be tempted to opt for the cheaper bedding – purchasing hypoallergenic (or non-allergy producing) bedding materials such as mattress protectors, sheets, duvets and pillows will deter dust mites from nesting and making themselves comfortable. Bedding derived from all-natural fibers like organic cotton and silk are soft and will help resist the asthmagens as they are naturally hypoallergenic. Washing all sheets and blankets each week in warm water will make a huge difference too!
Make your home a smoke and pet-free zone
For many asthma sufferers, this one goes without saying – but it’s important to avoid these elements, especially in an indoor environment. The inhalation of cigarette smoke for an asthmatic is often followed by an attack, and pet dander is also a common trigger. To prevent attacks from occurring, it’s best to keep your furry friends outside whenever possible and wash them regularly (about once a week) to reduce their spread of hair around the property.
Incorporate some greenery
It may seem like an unusual suggestion, but indoor plants can significantly improve the quality of oxygen in your home, which in turn reduces the number of asthma triggers that may be in the space. Having just one plant featured in a room where people spend most time, for example the living room, acts as a sponge whereby it will absorb various toxins, chemicals, asthmagens and pollutants, and replaces them with fresh oxygen.
In dust busting mode? Check out our wrap-up of the best vacuum cleaners: