Creating a healthy home can help you and your family breathe cleaner, fresher air and hopefully reduce allergic reactions or allergy-related asthma episodes.
Around two out of five Australians have allergies, including most people with asthma. Allergies tend to run in families but family members may not have the same response.
The best way to avoid an allergic reaction is to avoid the trigger that causes it, but this is not always possible. However, reducing exposure to your allergy triggers may make your symptoms easier to manage.
They like moderate temperatures and high humidity. They are found in bedding, flooring, window coverings and furniture. Their poo is the main culprit and is small enough to become airborne when stirred up
Mould needs long periods of humidity to grow. Houses in tropical areas or with rising damp may be more at risk. Poor ventilation may mean a bathroom or built-in robe can produce mould, even if not in humid areas.
Cats and dogs are the most common cause of pet allergies. Guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, mice and rats can also trigger asthma or allergies in some people
Trees, grasses and other wind-pollenated plants are the source of the most troublesome pollens. For many people, spring is the worst time, but some plants produce pollen in other months of the year
Both cigarette and wood smoke can cause or worsen asthma symptoms
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may not be good for your lungs and are best avoided. Propylene glycol and glycol ethers (PGEs) may also be harmful. VOCs and PGEs are usually found in paint and cleaning chemicals
Many people don’t realize that the air inside your home can often times be more problematic for asthma and allergies than the air outside, carrying dust, dust mites and pet dander. What you might not know is that one of your most valuable allies in figuring out how to reduce asthma symptoms is your air conditioning unit. Lets take a look at some of the factors to look out for:
Reduce Asthma Symptoms
When purchasing an air conditioning system, a good HVAC technician will ask questions about people in your family and if anyone suffers from asthma or severe allergies. If someone suffers from asthma, they will likely offer to add a secondary filtration method in addition to your pre-filter (the filter you change every couple of months or so). There are several options including HEPA secondary filters and UV purifiers, so ask your technician to customize the air conditioning system to meet YOUR needs
Asthma Prevention and Your Air Conditioning System
- The number one way to figure out how to reduce asthma symptoms and attacks is to remove the source of allergens all together. This may be great in principle, but who really has the heart to get rid of their beloved dog or family cat? Fortunately, your AC can help. Modern air conditioners are designed with energy efficiency in mind, meaning that they run constantly at lower outputs to achieve the same results as your good-old-fashioned air conditioner , but just over a longer period of time and in shorter bursts, thus using less energy. As such, keeping your doors and windows closed constantly actually increases your air conditioning efficiency, but it also does something else, it decreases the amount of allergens that are introduced into your home and decreases the likelihood of an allergen induced asthma attack.
- Investing in a quality pre-filter for your air conditioner is key in the battle to figure out how to reduce asthma symptoms. Make sure to take a look at the numbers associated with it (again, the pre-filter is the filter you replace every month). The higher the number, the smaller the particles that it will remove from the air, but also the harder your system will have to work to push air through that filter, so find the compromise that best suits your family, or give us a call and we can recommend something for you right over the phone.
- Finally, vacuum on a regular basis (once every couple of days for asthma sufferers), invest in a good vacuum cleaner and clean your house routinely. A properly installed air conditioner can effectively remove allergens from the air, but it can’t do anything about the allergens that have settled into your carpet or onto your furniture. By cleaning, your are either directly removing the allergens themselves or stirring them up into the air column, where your AC system can get at them before they trigger an asthma attack.
Please visit The National Asthma Council Australia for more information.