How to manage / avoid allergens and irritants

Smoke from charcoal grills, gas or household irritants.

How to manage / avoid:

  • Put any stove that produces smoke/fumes outside the house, or where it can be ventilated.
  • Avoid using aerosol sprays and coating chemicals in the house.

Cold or respiratory tract infection can cause an asthma attack, particularly in children.

How to manage / avoid:

  • Take good nutrition for health and wellbeing.
  • Avoid letting children stay in crowded places.
  • Avoid close contact with people who have a cold or other respiratory tract infection.
  • Have a flu vaccination (particularly if the asthma is severe).

House Dust Mites

A baby’s exposure to dust mites or inhalation of dust mite allergens may lead to asthma. You should pay special attention to areas that accumulate the most dust, such as bedrooms, living rooms or any rooms where children spend a long time.

How to manage / avoid:

  • Wash bed sheets, bed covers, pillowcases and blankets at 55 – 60°C for not less than 30 minutes.
  • Hanging bedding in the sun will not get rid of dust mite allergens.
  • Use tightly woven covers in bedding materials, to prevent dust mites.
  • Avoid having a carpet in the bedroom.
  • Avoid using soft furnishings and toys with cotton wool, fabric or woolen underlays.
  • Regularly clean the house using hot water (include furry toys).
  • Use a vacuum cleaner.
  • The efficiency and safety of chemical products for killing dust mites is not widely accepted.

Allergens from pollens, flowering grasses and mold spores

How to manage / avoid:

  • Avoiding pollen completely can be difficult.
  • Close windows and doors during the pollen season or when the wind is strong.
  • Use an air-conditioner or air cleaner with HEPA filter so as to reduce allergens.
  • Remove any sources of water that can cause moisture in the house, such as in the bathroom and kitchen.
  • Consider using chemical cleaners to remove or prevent mold in the areas where it accumulates.

Exercise

Although physical exercise, such as running or swimming can cause an asthma attack, it can also have positive effects if done properly.

How to manage / avoid:

  • Do not refrain from exercise, but only do so having taken medical advice.
  • Use a bronchodilator, such as a short-acting beta 2 agonist or long-acting beta 2 agonist, for 15-30 minutes before exercising, so as to prevent exercise-induced asthma.
  • Warming up for 6-10 minutes before exercise may prevent exercise-induced asthma.

Foods, color additives and preservatives may trigger asthma symptoms in children.

How to manage / avoid:

  • Avoid foods or triggers that affect asthma symptoms.

Certain medications, such as aspirin and NSAIDS can trigger an asthma attack.

How to manage / avoid:

  • These medications are not to be used in patients with allergic reactions.
  • Beta-blockers should not be used in patients with asthma.

Cockroach Allergies

Cockroaches shedding body parts in the house can trigger allergies in children. Skin allergy tests have shown, that cockroach allergen is the second most common allergen after dust mites.

How to manage / avoid:

  • Clean your house regularly.
  • Place all food scraps in a container with a tight fitting lid. Remove garbage and food scraps daily.
  • Remove any sources of unused water, such as in the base of the shower, sink and kitchen, as cockroaches often live in these areas.
  • Consider using pesticides or hiring an exterminator if required.

Pet allergies

Dander, saliva and urine from dogs, cats and rats can trigger allergies in some patients.

How to manage / avoid:

  • The best way is to prevent these pets from entering the room or leisure area.
  • If the pets need to be inside, bathe them regularly, at least once a week, and keep them away from people who suffer from this allergy.
  • Use of an air filter will help to reduce allergens.

Smoke from cigarettes

Patients may engage in active smoking or be exposed to passive smoke. Cigarette smoke is a known contributor to allergies (particularly in young children), making asthma symptoms worse.

How to manage / avoid:

  • Avoid exposure to both active and passive smoking during pregnancy and after.
  • Carers and people living with children should avoid smoking, or at least not smoke in a room when children are present.