Life StoryJune/July 2009 Issue

Common Asthma Triggers

Food
Avoid foods to which you’re allergic or sensitive. Avoid sulfites, often found in wine, beer, dried fruit, processed potatoes, shrimp.

Animal Dander
Keep pets with feathers or fur outside. If that's not possible, keep pets out of sleeping areas at all times. Keep them off carpets and upholstered furniture.

Dust Mites
Encase pillows and mattresses in special dust-proof covers. Wash bedding at 130 degrees to kill mites. Reduce indoor humidity to below 60 percent. Avoid cloth-covered cushions. Remove carpets, especially from bedrooms and those on concrete. Keep stuffed toys out of the bed or wash them weekly in hot water.

Cockroaches
Keep food and garbage in closed containers. Use non-toxic bait or traps.

Pollen and Outdoor Mold
Keep windows closed during allergy season. Stay indoors from late morning to early afternoon to avoid peak pollen.

Irritants
Quit smoking and ask family members to do the same. Don’t allow smoking in your home or car. Don’t use a wood-burning stove, kerosene heater or fireplace. Stay away from strong odors and sprays, such as perfume, hairspray, housecleaning products and paint.

Vacuum Cleaning
Ask someone else to vacuum. Stay out of the room while the vacuum is running. If you must vacuum, use a dust mask, a double-layered or micro filter vacuum cleaner bag or a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

Cold Air
Cover your nose and mouth with a scarf on cold days.

Non-Asthma Medicines
Tell your doctor about all medicines you take, including cold medicines, aspirin and nonselective beta-blockers (including those in eye drops).

Source: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health

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