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Triggers: Hiding in plain sight

Right inside your home

10/26/2017, 8:59 a.m.
Triggers are substances that increase the risk of asthma flare-ups. They differ from person to person and in intensity.
A trigger. Wikipedia

After the inspection tenants and landlords are provided a list of the findings and recommended solutions. A follow-up visit is scheduled. The overall purpose of the program is not only to keep people healthy but also to keep them healthy in their homes.

COMMON TRIGGERS AND SOLUTIONS

Triggers in the home

MOLD AND MILDEW

Source: Bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements

Solutions:

  • Run exhaust fan or open window when showering, cooking or using dishwasher.
  • Clean sinks, tubs and showers with green products, then dry.
  • Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner.
  • Keep humidity below 50 percent.

photo

Illustration by Caleb Olson

DUST MITES

Source: In anything made of cloth or fiber: curtains, carpets, upholstered furniture, pillows, stuffed toys, mattresses

Solutions:

  • Use allergy-proof mattress and pillow covers.
  • Wash sheets and pillow cases in hot water (130°) every week, and dry in clothes dryer.
  • Remove carpets.
  • Eliminate clutter.
  • Dust regularly with a damp cloth

COCKROACH AND RODENTS

Source: Preference for dark, damp places, clutter and behind walls

Solutions:

  • Store food in closed containers
  • Fix leaks; don’t leave water in sinks or pots and pans.
  • Clean up crumbs and wipe up spills.
  • Plug cracks around windows and doors.
  • Block holes in walls, cabinets and foundation.
  • Use baits and traps instead of sprays.

photo

Illustration by Caleb Olson

FURRY OR FEATHERED PETS

Source: Animals like dogs, cats, hamsters and birds

Solutions:

  • Keep animals out of the bedroom.
  • Vacuum weekly with a HEPA vacuum cleaner.
  • Wash hands after touching animals.

STRONG ODORS

Source: Cleaners and bleach, pesticides, air fresheners, potpourri, paints, glue, perfume

Solutions:

  • Use “green” products instead of caustic cleaners.
  • Use an exhaust fan or open window.

photo

Illustration by Caleb Olson

SMOKE

Source: Cigarettes, pipes, cigars, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves

Solutions:

  • Avoid smoke from all sources.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for help to stop smoking.

photo

Illustration by Caleb Olson

POLLEN AND AIR POLLUTION

Source: Spring: trees, grasses and weeds; Fall: ragweed and weeds; smog, haze, smoke, dust

Solutions:

  • Use air conditioner or keep windows closed.
  • Check pollen count at www.pollen.com.
  • Check the air quality at www.airnow.gov.

EXERCISE

Source: Sports or gym class or when running or playing hard

Solutions:

  • Start slowly and cool down.
  • Breathe through your nose.
  • Use rescue inhaler if prescribed by your doctor.

photo

Illustration by Caleb Olson

WEATHER

Source: Cold or dry weather

Solutions:

  • Wear a mask or scarf to warm the air you breathe.

MEDICAL ILLNESSES

Source: Colds and viruses, GERD or heartburn

Solutions:

  • Wash hands often.
  • Avoid people with the flu.
  • Get a yearly flu shot.
  • Avoid foods that cause GERD, such as fatty or fried foods.

Other possible triggers are some medicines, strong emotions, such as anger or stress and foods containing sulfites.

Source: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Boston Public Health Commission

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Boston Children's Hospital