There are steps you can take around the home to create a healthier environment to help you live better with asthma and allergies.
All sorts of asthma and allergy triggers can gather in your home, especially house dust mites and mould.
From improving air circulation, to washing bedding regularly at certain temperatures, the strategies to consider depend on your household’s triggers and circumstances.
What you can do
The first step is working out whether certain triggers affect you.
If you think you might have an allergy, speak with your doctor to identify what is causing the reaction and how you can manage this.
While triggers are different for everyone, there are some common household sources, like dust mites and mould.
House dust mites
House dust mites are the most common allergic trigger for asthma in Australia. These microscopic creatures feed off skin scales and grow well in mild and humid climates such as coastal areas.
Dust mites are found in soft furnishings such as beds, bedding, carpet, upholstered furniture, soft toys and clothing.
If dust mites are an issue:
- Wash sheets and pillowcases every week in water hotter than 55°C
- Remove soft toys from bedrooms, or wash every week in water hotter than 55°C
- Open curtains and air bedding in the sunshine and give them a regular clean
- Consider venetian blinds, flat blinds, or even external shutters, as they are easier to clean than heavy curtains
- Cover mattresses, quilts and pillows with dust mite-resistant cases
- Use a damp or electrostatic cloth to dust hard surfaces including floors
- Ask someone to vacuum for you as this increase’s allergens in the air for up to 20 minutes. Also consider using a vacuum cleaner with an asthma and allergy sensitive HEPA filter
- Keep rooms dry and well ventilated
- Clear out clutter
- Consider how you could reduce house dusts mites if you’re building or renovating
Exposure to indoor and outdoor areas that are damp and have mould may also trigger asthma symptoms in some people.
To manage mould, you can try:
- Remove visible mould with fermented vinegar – if you are sensitive to strong odours, wear a mask or ask someone else to do it for you
- Use a dehumidifier to remove moisture and/or an air purifier with a HEPA filter– to reduce air borne mould spores
- Use extractor fans in bathrooms, kitchens and laundries to aid natural ventilation and reduce the likelihood of mould growth
- Seal any leaks in bathrooms and roofs
- Clear overflowing gutters and blocked underfloor vents
- Remove indoor pot plants as they can promote mould growth
- Dry or remove wet carpets
- Treat rising damp as soon as it is discovered
- Avoid using organic mulches and compost heaps