If your child has asthma, ensuring that your home is a clean place where you can all breathe freely can be a catch-22. The act of cleaning your home – dusting, vacuuming, and stirring up dust, dander, and dirt – can trigger an asthma attack, but the house needs to stay clean in order to help prevent those very attacks.
Plus, no matter how careful you are while cleaning, irritants can be lurking in your cleaning products. Many asthmatics find that the chemicals or fragrances in cleaning products can make their asthma symptoms worse. While a fresh pine, powder, or lemon scent makes a home smell fresh and can mask unpleasant odors, these fragrances and scents are made with chemicals that can be harmful to an asthmatic’s airways.
How Can I Clean Without Causing Asthma Symptoms?
Here’s what you should look for the next time you’re at the store picking up your cleaning products:
VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. Products with VOCs release gases into the air that, when breathed in, can be harmful and have long-term effects on your lungs.
Looking for cleaning products that are “VOC-free” helps avoid these harmful gases. Examples of VOCs are formaldehyde, toluene, and ethylene glycol.
Use Scent-Free Cleaners
Since the perfumes in so many cleaning products are what trigger allergies and asthma symptoms, seek out products that don’t have any. Look for labeling that says scent-free, perfume-free, fragrance-free, or odorless.
Read the Labels
Check the labels for indications that they are safe for pets and children. This will give you an idea on what is safe for your child’s asthma, because these labels mean that it is also safe for children and pets in the case of accidental ingestion – in other words, there are no harmful ingredients.
Vacuum with a HEPA Filter
Vacuuming is one way to rid your home of allergens, but be sure to take care when cleaning filters, canisters, and bags. Opt for vacuums equipped with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestance) filters to help filter allergens away.
Have the Child Wear a Mask When You’re Cleaning
As cleaning and vacuuming can kick up a lot of dust and dander, wearing a mask can prevent your child from inhaling any of these allergens that can trigger an asthma attack. You can make this fun by making it seem like Halloween every time you clean! Have your child wear a protective mask along with a fun costume or whatever would make it fun for your child. Wearing a protective mask will significantly deter allergy and asthma symptoms.
If you have other children in the house, have them all wear masks when you clean so the child with asthma doesn’t feel odd. Don’t keep it a secret that this is to avoid allergies and asthma.
Children’s Asthma Doctors in Essex County, Massachusetts
If your child has asthma or allergies and you’d like to find out which household cleaning items are exacerbating their condition, bring your child to the experienced pediatricians here at Children’s Health Care. We will give your child a checkup and determine what may be the triggers of the reactions.
Schedule an appointment today by calling our Newburyport office at (978) 465-7121 or our Haverhill office at (978) 373-6557. We look forward to treating your child so they can enjoy growing up without asthma getting in the way.