Asthma affects around 25 million individuals in the United States. Though symptoms are manageable, changes in the weather and your daily activities might introduce new triggers, resulting in asthma flare-ups. For example, when the temperature drops during the winter, we spend more time indoors. Understanding how this may influence your asthma is essential to improved management.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a long-term, chronic lung illness. It affects your airways, which are the tubes that move air into and out of your lungs. Asthma can cause airways to become irritated and constricted. As a result, it may cause difficulty breathing, coughing, and chest tightness. When these symptoms worsen, the flare-up is known as an asthma attack. Although asthma is a mild annoyance for some people, it can be severe for others, causing disruptions to everyday activities and may result in a life-threatening asthma attack. There is no cure for asthma; however, the symptoms are manageable.
What Factors Contribute to Asthma?
When exposed to a trigger, you may get an asthma attack. Triggers are things that might cause or aggravate asthma symptoms. There are a variety of factors that can cause lung disorders.
What Effect Does Air Quality Have on Asthma?
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are as diverse as the buildings they service (commercial buildings, office buildings, single-family homes, apartments, duplexes, mobile homes, condominiums). Regardless of the type of HVAC system, adequate ventilation, high-quality filtration, and humidity control all contribute to a healthy indoor environment. In addition, regular maintenance of the HVAC system will ensure that it is operating safely and is not contributing to or causing an indoor air problem. Being aware of potential sources of indoor air irritants and allergens is critical to improving air quality and minimizing symptoms.
What Pollutants Influence Breathing?
Pollutants found in the air have the same effect on asthma and other triggers. In addition, they irritate the airways, causing them to enlarge and constrict, resulting in breathing difficulties.
Additionally, pollutants can make you more susceptible to upper respiratory infections, exacerbating asthma symptoms. Pollutants can also make the lungs more susceptible to allergens in the air, triggering asthma.
You’ve most likely heard of the ozone layer and how it shields us from the sun’s rays. However, there is a separate layer of ozone closer to the ground known as ground-level ozone.
Ground-level ozone can be harmful to the lungs. It is formed when chemicals from automobiles, power plants, and factories react with sunlight. This “ozone pollution” is a major component of smog, the brownish-yellow cloud that commonly hangs over cities on the horizon. It’s worse on hot days or in hotter sections of the country. Nearly 3.6 million asthmatic children live in towns or cities with extremely high levels of ground-level ozone.
Particle pollution might also cause respiratory difficulties and forms when microscopic dust, dirt, smoke, soot, and other substances are floating in the air we breathe. The smaller the particles, the deeper they might penetrate the lungs and create breathing difficulties.
Triggers for Asthma in the Air You Breathe at Home
You can find many possible asthma triggers in your home, but you can manage your flare-ups with the appropriate steps. Many asthmatics have multiple triggers and may differ from one person to another. Dust, dander, scents, chemicals, and smoke, including smoke from fires, cigarettes, and candles, are all triggers that may be present in the air you breathe. Here are a few pointers to help you prevent or decrease your exposure to asthma triggers:
Do Dust Mites Trigger Asthma?
Dust mites are tiny pests found in bedding, upholstery, and carpets. Maintain a humidity level of less than 50% in your house since dust mites flourish in high humidity. Once a week, wash linens in hot water and mop or steam clean your floors.
Can Pet Dander Increase the Effects of Asthma?
You may reduce exposure to pet dander by wet mopping, vacuuming, and dusting your home weekly. Keep pets outside if the weather permits, but if they are inside your home, restrict their access to bedrooms or areas you spend most of your time.
Are Scented Products Ok for People With Asthma?
Scents and chemicals in air fresheners, deodorants, cleaning supplies, and perfumes can aggravate your asthma. For example, when windows are closed during the winter months, strong scents can intensify, causing more frequent attacks. Instead, choose odor- and fragrance-free cleaning products and hygiene products.
Does Smoke Trigger Asthma?
While gathering around a fireplace may be enjoyable on a cold day or evening, smoke from these sources might cause a flare-up for individuals with asthma. Furthermore, scented candles create additional smoke in the home and strong scents that might trigger asthma symptoms. So, if you enjoy a fire on a cool day, consider an electric fireplace and candles to experience the glow of the season.
Pest and Mold Triggers
Did you know that Cockroaches, mold, and rodents can trigger an asthma attack? To keep pests and mold triggers from affecting impacting your lung health:
- First, remember to remove waste and put it outside regularly.
- Then, instead of harsh chemicals, use a non-scented soap, along with hot water and a firm brush to eliminate mold.
- In addition, repair leaks in your home that may be a source of moisture and ensure that bathrooms have adequate ventilation.
Secondhand Cigarette Smoke and Asthma
Secondhand smoke may be detrimental to anybody, especially to individuals with asthma. Cigarette smoke can enter any home through the windows. Secondhand smoke can provoke symptoms in persons who live in multi-unit housing, such as an apartment, duplex, or condo, and in homes where one or more residents smoke. It can spread from adjacent units and communal spaces via entrances, small cracks, electrical wires, pipes, and ventilation systems. If you live in a multi-unit home, consider talking to the property manager to advocate for a smoke-free environment.
Managing Asthma in the Workplace
You may have less control over your exposure to allergens and irritants that might induce asthma symptoms at work than you have at home. There are, however, methods to advocate for an asthma-friendly environment.
Work with the HR department of your company to create policies on tobacco in the workplace and advocate for smoking cessation services. Not only will triggers be reduced for employees with asthma, but they can also decrease the costs of health insurance by reducing employees’ risks for lung diseases such as COPD and lung cancer.
Policies for a Fragrance-Free Workplace
Fragrances can negatively impact the indoor air quality of your workplace. They may also pose a greater risk to individuals with asthma or other lung illnesses. Speak to your employer about establishing a fragrance-free policy, such as no aftershave, cologne, perfume, scented hairspray, and scented lotion at work. Additionally, building management can help reduce the risk by using natural cleaning products without strong odors.
Mold and Pests
Pests like dust mites, cockroaches, and rats, as well as mold, can cause individuals with asthma to have flare-ups. Your workplace can help prevent triggers by instituting cleaning standards such as keeping trash outdoors, weekly dusting and vacuuming, and cleaning mold with a mild natural soap, hot water, and a vigorous brush. Furthermore, pest management services are a cost-effective way to reduce exposure.
Thanks for Reading!
We hope this article was helpful in providing you with information on asthma triggers and how to help reduce symptoms. Here at Filti, we are passionate about helping people stay healthy and improving the air quality they breathe. We design our products to help keep you, your family, and your staff safe by filtering out the harmful particles in the air. And, it is our mission to make quality air filtration products available to all consumers and frontline workers. For more information about Filti, commercial air filters, home air filters, and mask products, visit our online store at filti.com or email us at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you!