Asthma is a health challenge that can make it hard to breathe. The bronchioles (small airways within the lungs) become irritated and inflamed. As the bronchiole tissues swell, excessive mucous is produced and the airways narrow. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath and a tightening of the chest.
Indoor Air Quality And Asthma
Asthmatic episodes often begin with exposure to an indoor allergen or volatile chemical. Both airborne allergies and chemical sensitivities can trigger asthma.
Allergies are an immune system reaction, usually to biological material – pollen, pet dander pet saliva, dust mites, bacteria and mold spores.
Airborne chemicals (VOC’s) can also cause irritation to the bronchioles and trigger asthma. Cleaning products, construction adhesives, perfumes, dry cleaning, tobacco smoke, new carpeting and upholstery can release volatile organic chemicals into the air (off gassing) and trigger asthma.
To compound these problems, newly constructed homes are often tightly sealed and do not allow for air exchange. Consequently, the air that is inside the home remains in the home. Outside air is not able to enter and dilute the chemicals that are in the indoor air. Over time, these airborne chemicals build up, becoming concentrated and problematic for asthmatics who are chemically sensitive.
Moisture also creates a health risk for asthmatics. Moisture is released into the air when we shower, cook and even when we breathe. When humidity builds, dust mites and molds proliferate.
Prevention is always better than cure!
If you have asthma and suspect environmental triggers, here is what you can do:
- Learn what your triggers are. For example, if you developed symptoms when you change the bed linens or vacuum the rug, you could have an allergy to dust mites. Use dust mite protectors on bedding and if possible, remove carpeting. Keep a log of when you become asthmatic, where you are, and what you are doing. Also keep a record of places and times you are well. Detective work can help you to learn the irritants that trigger your asthma.
- Avoid cleaning products, nail polish and building materials that off gas VOC’s.
- Maintain low humidity. Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom that vent to the outdoors. Use a dehumidfier in damp places including the basement.
- Filter your indoor air to remove chemicals and particles. A premium HEPA air cleaner removes allergens including pollen, pet dander pet saliva, dust mites, bacteria and mold spores from the air. Additionally, a high quality carbon filter removes chemicals including formaldehyde, nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide and toluene form the air. Austin Air combines the best quality HEPA and carbon materials to offer the most effective air cleaner on the market today.
- If you do have asthma, consider Five Element Acupuncture to help you strengthen your respiratory and immune system so that your body will be less vulnerable to health challenges as they arise.
Having an Austin Air cleaner in your home, and implementing the suggestions above will greatly improve the air that you breathe. Make a commitment to breathing easier in 2018!