Asthma affects 26 million Americans and is increasing each year, resulting in 4,000 deaths with 2.1 emergency room visits annually. Asthma can be caused by many different environmental factors. But, when you recognize asthma is caused by something in your home, you should remove the cause and help resolve asthma problems within your family. Here are two common causes of asthma in your home and tips to help eliminate the problems.
Besides bringing diseases into your home, mice and other rodents living in your home can give you or your family members asthma allergies. Asthma can be a life-threatening condition, especially when it affects children. It was found children who are allergic to mice are more likely to have gone to the emergency room with asthma-related problems at least once in the last 12 months. Another study also found that exposure to mice in a mice infestation is more likely to cause in young children a mouse allergy and a risk of asthma symptoms, than a roach allergy from a roach infestation.
If you are allergic to mice, the allergy will manifest itself with wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. A rodent allergy can come from your exposure to the rodent's saliva, urine, or skin present in your home. Because just one mouse living in your home will expose your family to its allergens, the best way to stop the asthma allergies is to get rid of any rodents. If you think you or anyone living in your home has asthma from mice, you can get an allergy test done at a local doctor's office.
You can also look for signs around your home of a mice infestation. This can include mice droppings that look like black grains of rice. Other signs you might find can include chew-holes in bags of pantry food or a small nest made of paper, string, and cloth in any rarely-used closet or drawer spaces. When you find signs of mice in your home, it is important to call an exterminator or set traps to catch all the mice. Then, you should clean up their nests and other remains to get rid of all the allergens they have left behind. This can include washing the carpets and floors to clean up their urine and droppings.
To prevent further mice infestations in your home, sweep and mop your floors frequently to clean up any crumbs and food spills. Then take out your trash often so it does not overflow, do not leave food in rooms other than the kitchen, and don't leave open food out overnight. Also, seal any openings or cracks around doors and windows to prevent mice from entering your home. Caulk any cracks around utility cables and pipes entering your home. Mice only need an opening the size of a dime to enter your home. If these steps don't stop the infestation, consider mice extermination.
The Institute of Medicine found in 2004 indoor mold allergies can cause shortness of breath and other respiratory problems in children who are normally healthy. It has also been found that an early exposure to mold can cause some children to develop asthma. As an adult, exposure to mold in your home can cause you to suffer upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughing, and wheezing when you are otherwise healthy. If you already suffer from asthma, mold in your home can increase your asthma symptoms.
As asthma from mold can affect both adults and children, it is important to look for any signs of mold in your home to clean them up and prevent future mold growth. Mold can grow on wet surfaces, such as carpet, paint, drywall, paper, wood, upholstery, and in dust. Clean up any water leaks immediately so mold does not have a chance to grow in your home. Repair any plumbing leaks, and make sure your bathroom has adequate ventilation after each shower. Then, make sure your kitchen and laundry room are also ventilated so any excess moisture in the air can be vented to the outside.
Clean up mold from hard surfaces using a solution of one cup of bleach to one gallon of water. Apply the solution wearing gloves and protective eye wear. If you find mold growing in a porous surface, such as upholstery, carpet, or carpet padding, it is best to remove and discard the moldy item. Then, if the mold covers more than ten square feet, it is recommended to hire a professional mold remediation company.
Use this information to help keep your home free of asthma-creating allergens from rodents and mold.