Your home is a very busy place. People are always working, playing, cooking, washing, cleaning and moving things around. All that activity is perfectly normal, but it can release small particles and chemicals that build up in the air you breathe. Whether your home is large or small, old or new, the air inside may be causing breathing problems. Especially for people with asthma or allergies there are more problems.
However, there are some simple things you can do to clean up the air inside your home, so that everyone can breathe easier.

If you have allergies or asthma, you are sensitive to certain “triggers”. These “triggers” can set off a reaction in your lungs and other parts of your body. Triggers can be found indoors and outdoors. They can be simple things like:
• Cold air
• Tobacco smoke and wood smoke
• Perfume, paint, hair spray, cleansers or any other strong odors or fumes
• Allergens (things that cause allergies) such as dust mites, cockroaches, pollen, molds,
animal dander (tiny scales or particle from hair, feathers or skin) and saliva from pets
• Illness, like colds or influenza
Other things may also trigger your asthma or allergies. It is important to learn which triggers are a problem for you. Then you can learn to avoid them and help keep yourself healthy. Identifying your triggers is not always easy. You can experiment with staying away from one suspected trigger at a time. Watch yourself to see if you get better. This may show you if that trigger was a problem for you. You can also ask your doctor to help. Your doctor may suggest keeping an asthma diary, or having a skin test for allergies.

Sometimes the air outdoors can trigger allergies and asthma. You may have to avoid outdoor air pollution, pollen and mold spores. Controlling your contact with triggers outdoors is difficult. Any time air pollution and pollen levels are high it is a good idea to stay indoors.

The air at home is easier to control. Some people with asthma and allergies notice their symptoms get worse at night. Trigger controls in the bedroom or wherever you sleep are the best place to start. Air-conditioning can help. It allows you to keep doors and windows closed. This keeps pollen and mold spores outside. It also lowers indoor humidity. Low humidity helps to control mold and dust mites. Avoid too much air-conditioning or too much heat. Room air temperature should be comfortable for someone with allergies or asthma. Some people cannot tolerate a big change in temperature, particularly from warm to cold air. There are air-cleaning machines that you can buy that may remove some of the triggers in your home. However, they will not remove them all. Some air cleaners use an electrical charge that makes ozone, which manufacturers claim will “purify” the air. However, ozone can irritate the lungs, and is especially a problem for people with asthma. The American Lung Association does not recommend the use of air cleaners that produce ozone. Look for mechanical air cleaners, such as HEPA air cleaners that do not produce ozone and can effectively trap large and small particles

Here are some common triggers and some ways to help control them at home.
• Tobacco smoke – Smoking should not be allowed in the home. Ask family members and friends to smoke outdoors.
• Wood smoke – Wood smoke is a problem for children and adults with asthma and allergies. Avoid wood stoves and fireplaces.
• Pets – Almost all pets cause allergies, including dogs, cats and small animals like birds, hamsters and guinea pigs. All pets should be removed from the home if they trigger asthma and allergy symptoms. Pet allergen may stay in the home for months after the pet is gone because it remains in house dust. Allergy and asthma symptoms may take some time to get better. If the pet stays in the home, keep it out of the bedroom of anyone with asthma or allergies. Weekly pet baths may help cut down the amount of pet saliva and dander in the home.
Sometimes you hear that certain cats or dogs are “non-allergic”. There is no such thing as a “non-allergic” furry pet. Tropical fish or a reptile may be a good substitute.
• Cockroaches – Cockroaches can be a big problem for some people with asthma. Tiny pieces of dead roaches and
roach droppings end up in house dust and the air you breathe. Like people, roaches need food, water and a place
to live. Help keep your home roach-free by storing food in sealable containers and keeping crumbs, dirty dishes
and other sources of food waste cleaned up; fixing leaks and wiping up standing water; and cleaning up clutter
where roaches find shelter.
If you still have a problem and you choose to use a pesticide, be sure to use if safely, and as directed on the label.
Baits are less likely than sprays and foggers to harm your lungs.
• Mold and Mildew – When moisture in the air is high, mold and mildew can be a problem in bathrooms, kitchens
and basements. Make sure these areas have good air circulation and are cleaned often. The basement in particular
may need a fan or a dehumidifier. And remember the water that collects in the dehumidifier must be emptied and
the container cleaned often to prevent growing mildew.
Mold may grow on foam pillows when you perspire. Wash the pillow every week, dry thoroughly and make sure to
change it every year. Alternatively, change to a fiber-filled pillow.
Molds also grow in the soil of houseplants, so check them often. You may have to keep all plants outdoors.
• Dust Mites – Dust mites are tiny, microscopic animals usually found in house dust. Several thousand mites can be found in a pinch of dust. Mites are one of the major triggers for people with asthma and allergies. They need the most work to remove.
Following these steps can help get rid of dust mites:
1. Put mattresses and pillows in allergen-proof covers. Tape over the length of the zipper.
2. Wash all bedding every week in water that is at least 130ºF. Removing the bedspread at night may also be helpful.
3. Remove carpeting, especially in the bedroom. Dust mites thrive in it.
4. Dust and vacuum as often as possible. To reduce the amount of dust stirred up when cleaning, use a damp mop or damp cloth when you dust. Try to use a vacuum cleaner with a High Efficiency filter or a central vacuum cleaner with a collection bag outside the home. Avoid cleaning when the person with asthma or allergies is around.
5. Use window shades or curtains made of plastic or other washable material for easy cleaning.
6. Remove stuffed furniture, stuffed animals (unless they can be washed) and clutter, especially in the bedroom.
7. Closets need extra care. They should hold only needed clothing. Putting clothes in a plastic garment bag may help. Do not use the plastic bag that comes with your dry cleaning.
8. Dust mites like moisture and high humidity. Cutting down the humidity in your home can cut down the number of mites. A dehumidifier may help.
• Strong odors or fumes – Perfume, room deodorizers, cleaning chemicals, paint and talcum powder are examples of triggers that must be avoided or kept to very low levels.

Controlling the home environment is a very important part of asthma and allergy care. In addition to seeing a doctor regularly and taking medications as prescribed, the most important things you can do to make a difference are:
1. Reduce or remove as many asthma and allergy triggers from your home as possible.
2. If possible, use high efficiency air filters and air-conditioners, and properly maintain them to keep your home cleaner and more comfortable.
3. Pay attention to the problem of dust mites. Work hard to control this problem, especially in the bedroom.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Laurusonis was conferred his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1983 and has been actively taking care of patients since completing his Internal Medicine residency in 1987 in the Garden State of New Jersey. Dr. Laurusonis has been licensed in four states but ultimately chose to permanently relocate to Georgia with his family and begin a private practice. Through his extensive experience in Internal Medicine, as well as in Emergency Rooms throughout the United States, Dr. Laurusonis saw how traditional Emergency Rooms were often overwhelmed by patients suffering medical conditions that were urgent but may not need the traditional “Level I Trauma Center”. Patients often waited six to twelve hours to be seen by a physician, were riddled with thousands of dollars in medical bills, and were generally unhappy with the system.
Dr. Laurusonis decided to open an Urgent Care Center instead of a 9-5 doctor's office. Through the last fifteen years he has received accolades from the community and his patients. He has expanded his practice to include many cosmetic therapies that have previously been treated with painful and extensive plastic surgery. He has been invited to the White House numerous times, has been named Physician of the Year from GA, as seen in the Wall Street Journal, and has served as Honorary Co-Chairman on the Congressional Physicians Advisory Board
Dr. Laurusonis and his practice, Doctors Medical Center, is open 7 days a week from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm offering such services as lab, x-ray, EKGs, aesthetics (Botox, dermabrasion, sclerotheraby and veins etc.), cold/flu, sore throats, fractures, sprains, lacerations, GYN, Pediatrics, Phlebology Anxiety/Insomnia/Depression Treatment, skin tag/mole removal, veins, allergies, asthma, physicals--just to name a few. Dr. Laurusonis welcomes you to either make an appointment or just walk-in to see him. Dr. Laurusonis will take the time to speak with you about your concerns--no problem is too big or too small. If you need additional services we have specialist referrals available or we can refer you to the neighborhood hospital emergency room. Give Doctors Medical Center a call--Dr. Laurusonis will be happy to speak with you.

John Drew Laurusonis, MD
Doctors Medical Center
3455 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Suite 110
Duluth, GA 30096