Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month: May
On World Asthma Day (Tuesday, May 3) and throughout May, people with asthma and organizations dedicated to asthma control and education join together to increase awareness about asthma and improve the lives of all people with asthma. But first of all: what exactly is it?
Asthma is a lung disease affecting over 300 million people worldwide. The symptoms include repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing, and can often limit sufferer’s physical activity in order to prevent attacks. In many cases, we don’t know what causes asthma, and we don’t know how to cure it. However, a study at the University of Arizona, among others, suggests that mold spores are a strongly suspected cause in the tripling of the asthma rate in the past 20 years. By knowing the facts or all about mold, you can better keep your home and family, safe and healthy. Mold, thrives in damp homes. Airborne mold spores can compromise indoor air quality, leading to everything from congestion, skin irritation, and – as studies suggest – even asthma, so it’s important we keep our homes safe and dry. By knowing the facts or all about mold, you can better keep your home and family, safe and healthy. Here’s our five recommended ways to prevent and eliminate mold problems around the house
- Dry. Maintain indoor relative humidity between 30 and 50 percent, using a dehumidifier as required. You can monitor the levels in your home easily with a hygrometer, found in your local hardware store.
- Circulate. Ensure ventilation of humid areas such as bathrooms and attics, and of moisture-producing appliances, such as clothes dryers. Indoor mold spores are typically lower than outdoor counts, so ope doors and windows when possible, allowing for adequate air exchange.
- Seal. Avoid condensation-related moisture by properly sealing windows and insulating cold water pipes and air conditioning vents.
- Investigate. Monitor mold hotspots such as bathrooms, kitchens, basements and attics for evidence of mold. Look for surface discoloration and ‘follow your nose’ – that musty, earthy smell could be hidden mold.
- Treat. Throw out inexpensive, water-logged and mold-infested materials. For those that remain, use an EPA-registered solution to fight remaining indoor mold.
Prevention is key, however if you already suffer from asthma, it’s important to know how to manage your symptoms. Use your asthma medicine as prescribed and be aware of common triggers in the environment known to bring on asthma symptoms, including smoke (including second-hand and third-hand cigarette smoke), household pets, dust mites, and pollen. Limit or avoid exposure to these and other triggers whenever possible.
For more information on prevention & treatment, consult your GP or visit The Asthma Association.
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