Article Published: February 2019
Article Last Reviewed: May 2020
Next Review Due: May 2022
Your home is a reflection of your soul. My home reflects organized chaos.
Inside, there are collectable antiques, courtesy of my grandmother, an abundance of house plants, and one very large and furry mixed-breed dog.
There are also many hacks to keep my asthma symptoms at bay. I sweep and vacuum more than normal since my dog would attack a robotic vacuum. And I’ve put together a cleaning schedule that couldn’t possibly be completed alone, so I always have help when it comes time to tidy up.
If you’re looking to better manage your asthma, incorporating these tips into your home and lifestyle might help you.
1. Buy a HEPA-certified vacuum
Even in college, I knew that to combat my asthma, I needed more than the $40 vacuum I purchased. So, instead, I budgeted for a high-tech, HEPA-certified one that’d never lose suction and had a reusable filter.
HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air, meaning that it traps potentially harmful microparticles and doesn’t release any of its exhaust for a deeper clean. This vacuum cost more than I wanted to spend at the time, but it’s lasted over five years. It also doesn’t spew dust back into the air like cheaper versions.
2. Use unscented everything
You know when you walk into someone’s home and the entire house smells like a particular scent of air freshener? As easy as it can be to cover up the smell of wet dog, dirty laundry, or dirty dishes, air fresheners may actually be harmful to people living with asthma.
It’s important to use unscented beauty products, laundry detergents, and soaps to ensure that you’re not exposing yourself to a potential asthma trigger. If you do need to cover up a foul odor in your home, diffuse essential oils or light a soy candle made with essential oils.
Be sure to check that the scent of oil you’re using isn’t harmful to dogs and cats if you have them as pets.
3. Use a humidifier during drier months
One asthma trigger that we tend to have the least control over is the weather.
During winter months, I always run a humidifier at night to ensure the air isn’t too dry and I don’t wake myself or my partner up with the sounds of coughing. My humidifier also has the option of diffusing essential oils, so I add a few drops of lavender for relaxation.
4. Invest in a HEPA-certified air purifier
I’m a huge supporter of air purifiers. In elementary school, we did an experiment to see which spot in the home had the largest concentration of air pollution. It was the laundry room!
Even way back then — before my asthma diagnosis — I was shocked and horrified to go in there. In my current apartment, my laundry room and kitchen are in the same room. To reduce the amount of toxins in the air, I invested in a high-quality air purifier that has a reusable filter.
I can breathe and rest easier knowing that I’m doing everything I can to reduce indoor air pollution and eliminate potential asthma triggers.
5. Never leave your windows open at night
While a cool breeze and the quiet, distant sounds of birds chirping can lull you to sleep, allergens are aplenty in the wee hours of the morning.
If you have allergic or allergy-induced asthma, windows can be detrimental to your health depending on the pollen levels. Peak pollination time can vary depending on location and time of year. You can save your entire day by switching on the air conditioner at night to reduce symptoms when you wake up.
6. Reduce clutter
I did an exercise in my home last year where I went through every item I owned and determined whether or not it brought me joy.
While it sounds a little crazy, it helped reduce the amount of clutter in my home by about 75 percent. I got rid of old bedding, pillows, towels, clothing, books, stuffed animals, and everything that was quite literally collecting dust.
Not only can regular tidying help to reduce dust and dust mites in your home, you’ll also have a little more Zen in your life.
7. Break up with down pillows and comforters
In addition to asthma, I’m also allergic to goose feathers, so this is an easy one for me. Feathers are very allergenic, which can make finding the right bedding a bit more challenging.
Use synthetic, hypoallergenic, or other natural fiber pillows and bedding to help reduce asthma symptoms everywhere in your home. Make sure they protect against dust mites as well.
Your home should be a place that makes you feel good. Making a few small but calculated changes to your home can help you live your best life, even with asthma.
For more information on how to manage asthma, reach out to your doctor or healthcare team.
RESP-US-NP-00094 FEBRUARY 2019