Avoiding exposure to allergens forms the most important part of controlling asthma. But identification of the allergen causing asthma can take time and a good detective work. Till then one can take care to avoid the most common triggers.
- Avoid using feather or wool stuffed pillows and use a washable mattress cover. Curtains should be replaced with shades or blinds and beddings should be washed once a week in hot water.
- Encase pillows and mattresses in air-tight covers or special anti-allergic covers.
- Remove carpet especially from the sleeping room.
- Use vinyl, leather, or plain wooden furniture instead of fabric-upholstered furniture.
- Wash your bedcovers, clothes, and children’s stuffed toys once a week in hot water and dry in a hot dryer or the sun.
- Wet mopping to be encouraged as compared to dusting.
- Keep your house smoke free.
- Use air purifiers and vacuum cleaner.
- Reduce dampness in the home; clean any damp areas frequently. Use bleach-based agents to clean mouldy surfaces.
- Keep away from strong odor articles like perfumes, air freshener, cosmetics, insecticides.
- In cases of children, keep sure that the stuffed toys are washable and are kept covered with plastic when not in use.
- Pets should be kept confined to carpet free areas outside the room. As cats and dogs harbor significant allergens, bathing them once a week can reduce certain allergens.
- Cockroaches should be eliminated as in certain cases they have been seen to trigger an attack of asthma.
- Avoid going for camps or any other trip during the time of high pollen count (i.e. May-June and mid-August-September).
- Should remain indoors during festivals (Diwali, Dussherra) and also during dust storms.
- Exposure to vehicle fumes can also worsen asthma.
- Fungi in car air conditioners can also be a problem.
- Patients allergic to mold should avoid mowing grass or other gardening activities.
- Seat yourself in the Non-Smoking section in public places.
- In cases where asthma occurs due to workplace condition proper ventilation and face masks may help.
Other general preventive measures include :
- Quit smoking as it irritates the mucous lining of the airways and may aggravate asthma.
- Always keep your inhaler handy.
- Certain drugs like aspirin may cause severe asthmatic attack in sensitive individuals. Therefore always consult your doctor before taking any medicine.
- Exercising in moderate amount may help in controlling asthma (as it helps to improve the strength of the lungs and airways) but it is always better to consult your doctor before starting any exercise.
- People with asthma should try to prevent respiratory infection. Washing hands is one of the first preventive measure. Vaccination for certain diseases like influenza, tuberculosis etc. may help.
- Certain emotional factors like stress, depression, fear can increase the risk of asthma. So its good to keep a positive attitude which further helps in long term management of asthma.