If you’re living in St. Louis and cleaning a house, you’re most likely suffering from asthma.
St. Louis’s terrible air quality places it on the top of the list for the worst cities to live in if you have asthma.
If this wasn’t bad enough for St. Louis homemakers, researchers have discovered that cleaning might also increase asthma. Dr. Jonathan A. Bernstein, of the University Of Cincinnati College Of Medicine found that floor scrubbing can trigger potentially life-threatening asthma attacks.
The chemicals found in household cleaning materials can irritate the airways and cause them to inflate, restricting airflow.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a long-term disease that disrupts a sufferer’s ability to breath. Those suffering from asthma often have asthma attacks, which are when the airways become inflamed suddenly.
Asthma can be frightening and debilitating, forcing the sufferer to stop and gasp for breath. Also, severe asthma attacks can cause death through suffocation.
A lot of asthma is caused by genetic disorders, though stress, bad air, viral infections and smoking can all lead to asthma.
The household is full of triggers that can cause asthma attacks. These triggers include dust mites, cockroaches, mold, pets, tobacco smoke and burning appliances. Several cleaning places that can trigger asthma attacks are:
- Rugs and carpets
- Surfaces that are cleaned with liquid cleaning materials
There are several ways that you can asthma-proof your cleaning.
- Use organic cleaning materials
- Reduce moisture in the cleaning area
- Clean up dust
- Avoid using stuffed furniture
- Use hardwood floor instead of carpeting
- Call an exterminator if you see roaches
- Throw out anything moldy
- Wash your hands and clothes often
- Wash your pets frequently
- Vacuum pet areas
- Avoid smoking
- Get rid of burning appliances
- Wash carpets and rugs frequently
- When cleaning using a rag, do not dip the rag in the water a second time. Use a new rag.
- Make sure that the air is well ventilated
- Keep clothes dry
- Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners
- Use any allergen-proof products you can find such as pillows
- Do not have too much clutter around your house
- Do not wear your shoes around the house
If you have asthma, you might want to consider asking your doctor about asthma medications. Severe asthma can potentially be life-threatening and you might need to keep an inhaler ready for when an asthma attack strikes.
Asthma medications fall into the categories of anti-inflammatory and bronchodilators.
Anti-inflammatory medicines fight asthma by preventing swelling of the airways. Bronchodilators cause the muscles around the airways to relax; improving breathing and helping the lungs clear out the mucous.
Also, a newer medication called Xolair fights to block the allergens that cause asthma. Medicine comes in the form of pills, inhalers, and nebulizers.
Some asthma medications are taken on a regular basis, while other medications are taken whenever a patient experiences the asthma attack.
Other ways to fight asthma
In addition to medicine and prevention, several foods have been shown to fight or prevent asthma. These foods are all organic, since many processed foods contain additives that can actually aggravate asthma.
The first group of foods is the omega-3 foods such as salmon. These foods inhibit the body’s ability to produce inflammatory compounds.
A second is magnesium-rich foods like spinach. Spinach calms the spasms in the muscles that can trigger an asthma attack. Third are the vitamin C foods like oranges and red peppers.
Vitamin C reportedly fights inflammation. Fourth are prostaglandin foods like onions which have anti-inflammatory effects. Fifth are B6 foods like chickpeas. These foods fight the tryptophan metabolism which is associated with asthma attacks.