Thursday, September 11, 2008

10 Steps to Making Your Home Asthma-Safe

We get a lot of calls from individuals who have Allergies and Asthma.The biggest percentage of them have Asthma. The sad part is they are having problems even after the so called experts gave them advice on the telephone without seeing their homes. Some of them even paid for this advice or bought products to get the advice. Remember books are not the answer, visual inspection experience works.

Inspection of an Asthmatics home is crucial in solving their problems. I cannot tell how many times I have done an Environmental Inspection of an Asthmatics home and found the problem that was bothering them for years in the first 15 minutes. I am not kidding you, these problems are blatant and right in front of you. I guess you want me to tell you my secrets now. I'll get to it soon, but you will have to visit our website to see the pictures to understand what I am talking about.

Tips for Controlling Asthma:

1. No Pets of any type indoors. Snakes are OK, but I would not want one in my house. My children had fish and turtles. Any kind of an animal that has fur or feathers will shed dander in the home. If you must have an animal, keep them outside.

2. No Smoking for members of the Asthmatics' household indoors. The Asthmatic must stay away from individuals that smoke because the residue in the clothing and hair will affect them. Best Policy, No Smoking.

3. Change the air in the home once a week to remove any buildup of residual chemicals in the air. Example: air your house out for 15 minutes to allow fresh air into the home. Second option: Install a dehumidifying ERV unit with HEPA Filter System to pull fresh air into the home. Be sure to consult with your Doctor before doing these tips to get his or her OK.

4. Use high quality HEPA rated air cleaners. No ozone. I have a lot of clients who react to ozone, even low levels like some of the manufacturers advertise. Remember, ozone is an oxidizer it does not belong in your lungs. During the visit to some of my clients, all I had to do is shut off their ozone source and their symptoms go away. That's one of my secrets.

5.Wash your linens once a week. This is only a good housekeeping tip here, you do not want to sleep on dirty sheets do you! My mother always told us to change the sheets once a week or if they get soiled. By doing this, you will help keep dust mites under control. It is also a good idea to get a high quality mattresses cover and pillows with dust-proof covers.

6. Air Conditioning is a great idea but, the problem here is that most people do not maintain them properly. While the A/C is removing the humidity from your home it is also making mold and algae in the coils and drain pan. It is important to keep after this problem before it gets out of hand. Use a minimum of a MERV 8 rated pleated filter to help keep the dirt levels down in the unit. Have it serviced every 6 months by a reliable company that will do what they say they will do. Be wary of service contracts guarantee unless they state exactly what they will do each month in writing. Air Conditioning can be a serious problem for individuals with Asthma if they are not kept clean.

7. Avoid spraying pesticides in your home. The bugs are in the walls and outside. Baiting is the only option here. Individuals with Asthma can react to pesticides. I have one client who ends up in the Emergency Room any time she is exposed to pesticides.

8. Keep your home clean. No dust and no food out of the Kitchen Area or Dining Area. This will encourage bugs to come to the crumbs on the floor. The thing to remember is that a lot of Asthmatics are allergic to the feces of dust mites and roaches. By limiting the eating area of your house, you can clean it up easier and keep it clean. Bugs do not like a clean house. They will pack up and move on to your neighbors house for better dining facilities. Be sure to store all foods in air tight containers.

9. Another common problem is other members of the family. Individuals with Asthma frequently have problems with hair spray, perfumes or other personal care products. If you must use hair spray, go outside and use it there to minimize exposure to the Asthmatic family member. It is important to avoid spraying around a family member with asthma.

10. Laundry: use unscented laundry detergent. Frequently, individuals with asthma will react to scented products. That is a tall order but imagine how tough it is on the one with Asthma having to deal with all these types of problems 24 hours a day without relief.

In conclusion, individuals with Asthma have a lot to deal with. Have sympathy and compassion for them. Remember, what you give out will tend to come back to you at a later date. Asthma is just a much a disability as other types of disabilities. Understanding them and their disability is the key to helping them. Breathing is important, not being able to breathe is life threatening and emotionally

Now we are at the end, I promised to tell you one of my secrets, well here it is. Recessed lighting is one of the biggest problems for individuals with Allergies and Asthma. They allow air to migrate into the air stream of the house every time the A/C comes on. This is a positive and negative pressure problem. Final word of advice, no recessed lighting unless it is the new type with a double wall fire rated receptacle.

By Art Emiss

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