Asthma is a condition that can make it hard for an individual to breathe, with most common symptoms including wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. Symptoms can occur daily, weekly or less often and can range from mild to severe. Like many other diseases and health conditions, if detected early, the progression of asthma can be modified–especially in children. One of the most effective ways to treat and manage asthma is to quickly identify and modify triggers around the home.
People complain a lot about what’s outside, especially during this time of year with the presence of pollen, but the air inside of our homes can sometimes be worse. For people with asthma, indoor air quality is of utmost importance.
Smoking is one of the biggest triggers for both adults and children with asthma. Residual soot and smoke are hard to see, but can build up in homes and on clothing. If you must smoke, do it outside, and then take steps to try to quit.
People often don’t understand the importance or simply forget to change their indoor air filters. Make sure you buy the right size filter for your system and change it regularly. The average home needs its filter changed every 90 days.
Clean your home regularly and keep an eye on excess moisture (likely caused by things like leaky faucets and roofs). Not only does moisture attract cockroaches, a trigger for asthma, but it can trigger mold, which causes allergies as well.
Scented candles and air fresheners are also asthma triggers.
Fortunately, Cone Health has a network of allergy/immunology and pulmonary specialists, community educators and related health care providers dedicated to treating asthma and its triggers, and improving the quality of life of those in the community who suffer from the condition.
Kathy Colville is the healthy communities director for Cone Health. She received her bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Brown University, and master’s degrees in social work and public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.