World Asthma Day: 2nd May 2017

World asthma day is celebrated every year on first Tuesday of may.

Asthma triggers are those substances or situation that increase inflammation and precipitates asthma attack. The most common triggers that have been recognised are House dust mites, pollens, pet animals, insects, some food particles, mental and physical stress, viral infections, tobacco smoke, weather changes, pollutions and sometimes physical exercise.

On this world asthma day, I would like to share you about the 5 commonest allergens causing asthma and few tips to avoid them.

1. House dust and house dust mites:

It is the dust produced indoors from break-down of animal and plant material used in the house.Such material includes cotton, wool, animal hair, feathers, etc. used particularly for stuffing in mattresses, pillows, upholstered furniture and carpets. Skin scales from human and a large variety of moulds (fungi) as well as dander and saliva from pets, add to the mixture of house dust. The tiny mite of the species Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus which grows on the constituents of the house dust which cause allergy commonly. 

  • Actions to avoid triggers:
    • Wash beddings in hot water at least once a week
    • Use cover and pillow that is allergy resistant
    • Avoid using carpets at home
    • Keep humidity in house low as much as possible
    • Remove stuffed toys from bedrooms
    • Clean the floors, surfaces frequently
Dust mites

2.  Moulds:

It may be contained in a damped basement, closets, bathrooms and upholstered furniture.

  • Actions to avoid triggers:
    • Use a cleaning solution that contains 5% bleach to clean the tub and shower area and any other places that mould grows.
    • Keep humidity in the house below 50% to reduce mould growth.
    • Dry sheets and clothing in a vented dryer

3. Pollens:

Flowers, grasses and trees are the most common sources of pollen that cause allergies. 

  • Actions to avoid triggers:
    • Use an air conditioner and keep the doors and windows shuts as much as possible in pollens season
    • Limit outdoor activities when pollen counts are high
    • Bath or shower, and change clothes after outdoor activity
    • Dry clothes in a vented dryer instead of outside.

4. Housepets:

Animal dander can stay on carpets and furniture for 4-6 weeks. Remains in the air for months after animal leaves.

  • Actions to avoid triggers:
    • Keep pets out of bedroom
    • Brush pet outside the house
    • Have non-allergic person wash pet at least once a week
    • Consider giving the pet away

5.  Tobacco and Wood Smoke:

  • Actions to avoid triggers:
    • Keep house smoke free.
    • Encourage family members and/or caregivers to quit smoking
    • Use airtight stove/fireplaces if wood must be burned
    • Avoid areas where smoking is allowed.