Dust, pollen and pet dander. Mold, mites and chemicals. You’ve studied the triggers that trouble the asthma or allergy sufferers in your life, and developed a strategy for taming each one. But if you’re committing any of these common missteps, you could be fighting an uphill battle.
Especially on chilly or dry days, amping up the heat and humidity may feel like the right call. But here’s the catch: Dust mites thrive on warmth and moisture. To make matters worse, chemicals in paint and adhesives release more of their potentially harmful irritants at higher temps. So while you’re hydrating parched sinuses, you could be fueling the very triggers that inflame them.
Minimize exposure to common causes of respiratory woe by maintaining a household humidity of no more than 40 to 45 percent and by keeping air temperature below 68oF.
Choosing not to shower before bedtime can spell trouble. If you’re not rinsing away the pollen and mold you attract throughout the day on your skin and hair, you’re basically sleeping with the enemy.
If the nighttime routine just isn’t your thing, at least wash your face and hair before you turn in. And wash your pillowcase and linens in hot water (130oF+) each week, instead of just once.
For the most part, houseplants are fairly safe because they produce less pollen than the average outdoor varietal. But a few indoor arrangements can still wreak havoc on your health. Common offenders include daisies and chrysanthemums (which also tend to show up in otherwise thoughtful occasion bouquets).
Another way potted plants can pose problems: If you overwater, you’re creating a breeding ground for mold. Use saucers underneath pots to catch runoff, and change them daily. Make sure to remove dead leaves, which can also harbor mold.
Whether you burn incense or candles, display potpourri or use standard spray or plug-in air fresheners, special fragrances can waft a whole host of unwanted asthma and allergy triggers throughout your home (or car).
Of course you want to scrub, swipe and sanitize your way to less bacteria and fewer germs. But if you use harsh chemicals as the solution to everything, you could be leaving a trail of allergy triggers and other toxins from the chemicals in your well-meaning wake.
The good news? You don’t have to choose between a germ-free life and respiratory health. Just part ways with the more aggressive disinfectants and try a non-toxic option.