May is Asthma Awareness Month and it is very important to understand how asthma affects an increasing percentage of the population.
- Don’t rely on disinfectants: Often, facility managers believe that using a disinfectant will reduce asthma and allergy triggers. However, more intensive methods such as carpet cleanings, dusting and extraction are required to remove dust mites and other contaminants that prompt asthma attacks.
- Empty vacuums frequently: To ensure dust mites stay at a minimum, empty vacuum bags before they are full. When bags are roughly 1/3 to 1/2 full, empty them so vacuums can stay fully effective in the removal of dust mites and other debris.
- Maintain A/C and heating units: Each month, change air conditioning and heating unit filters to ensure dust mites don’t recirculate into the building. Consider using filter enhancers which can be sprayed on units to help trap more debris and allergens.
- Increase carpet cleaning frequency: If the facility has carpet, ensure all vacuums are equipped with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. HEPA filters are most effective in the removal of the common contaminants that trigger asthma and allergies. In a commercial facility, deep clean carpets at least once a year. In facilities with high levels of foot traffic, consider deep cleanings on a more frequent basis.
- Dust Mites:What You Can Do: Wash bedding in hot water once a week. Dry completely. Use dust proof covers on pillows and mattresses. Vacuum carpets and furniture every week. Choose stuffed toys that you can wash. Wash stuffed toys in hot water. Dry completely before your child plays with the toy.
- Cockroaches:What You Can Do: Keep counters, sinks, tables, and floors clean and free of clutter. Clean dishes, crumbs, and spills right away. Store food in airtight containers. Seal cracks or openings around or inside cabinets. Use roach baits or traps instead of sprays. Cover trash cans.
- Mold:What You Can Do: If you see mold on hard surfaces, clean it up with soap and water. Let the area dry completely. Use exhaust fans or open a window in the bathroom and kitchen when showering, cooking, or washing dishes. Fix water leaks as soon as possible to keep mold from growing. Dry damp or wet things completely within one to two days.
- Chemical Irritants:What you Can Do: Chemical irritants found in some products in your house may make your child’s asthma worse. Your child’s asthma may be worse around scented or unscented products, including cleaners, paints, adhesives, pesticides, cosmetics, or air fresheners.
By following this advice, you will be able to create an environment that is free of asthma triggers in your home and at work.