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Asthma: Reducing Triggers in Your Home

How Can You Reduce Asthma Triggers in Your Home?

There are many things in every home that can cause an asthma attack or make asthma worse. These are called triggers. Below is a list of common triggers. Make changes based on your child's specific allergies or triggers for asthma attacks.

Common Triggers of Asthma Attacks

Tobacco Smoke

  • If you smoke, ask your child's doctor for ways to help you quit. Ask other family members to stop smoking also.
  • If you have to smoke, wear a specific coat or "duster" when outside to smoke. Remove when entering the home.
  • Do not allow smoking in your home, car or around your child.
  • Be sure no one smokes at your child's day care center.

House Dust Mites

Many people are allergic to dust mites. Dust mites are tiny bugs that you cannot see. They live in cloth and carpet. Follow the guidelines below to help reduce the number of dust mites your child may encounter in your home.

  • Put your child's mattress, pillow and box springs in dust mite / allergy-free covers that close with a zipper.
  • Remove stuffed animals or toys from your child's bed.
  • Wash all blankets and bedding once a week in hot water; wipe off once a week then change bedding.
  • Wipe off furniture and items near your child's bed once a week with a damp cloth.
  • Vacuum carpet weekly while your child is not in the room.
  • Remove carpeting if possible, especially from your child's sleeping area and play area.

Indoor and Outdoor Pollens and Molds

  • Clean bathrooms, kitchens and basements by scrubbing with soap and water once a week.
  • Avoid using bleach solution when the person with asthma is home. Bleach solution of one part bleach to nine parts water must be used in a well-ventilated area and not mixed with other chemicals.
  • Use an exhaust fan when cooking and showering. Hang wet towels and mops in a well-ventilated area to allow things to dry.
  • Ensure shower curtains, refrigerator doors, bathtub and window corners are free of mildew or mold growth.
  • Use air conditioning and keep windows closed, if possible.
  • Use a dehumidifier, if available. Empty the pan daily.
  • Do not use vaporizers or humidifiers.
  • Avoid houseplants. If you have them, change the soil frequently.
  • Do not mow grass or rake the leaves around your child.
  • Repair leaky faucets and pipes or other water leaks or report to your building owner.
  • Clean and repair roof gutters.
  • Connect the dryer vent so air exits your home.
  • Monitor the pollen count and have your child stay indoors mid-day when the pollen count is high.


  • Remove the pet from the child's room at all times.
  • Take allergy and/or rescue medications if you cannot avoid visits to family and friends with pets.
  • Wash your pet every week.
  • Choose a pet without fur or feathers.


  • Keep counters and floors free of food crumbs and keep food and trash in closed containers.
  • Avoid clutter such as piles of papers where cockroaches can hide.
  • Do not use pesticide sprays, foggers or bombs. Diatomaceous food grade is one asthma friendly alternative (found at local hardware / grocery stores).
  • Use bug spray when your child is out of the house and completely air out the house before he or she returns.
  • Use roach traps in areas that children and pets cannot reach and avoid placing where they may come in contact with food or dishes.
  • Vacuum carpeted areas once a week.

Strong Odors and Sprays

  • Avoid burning wood, incense and scented candles.
  • Avoid strong odors such as perfume, hairspray, paints and cleaning products.

Exercise, Sports, Work and Play

  • Your child should be able to be active without symptoms.
  • Ask the doctor about giving your child medicine before exercise to prevent symptoms.
  • Have your child warm up for five to 10 minutes before exercise.
  • Have your child avoid hard work or play outside when pollution or pollen levels are high.

Other Triggers

  • Colds / the flu. Have your child get a flu shot each fall.
  • Food allergies. Avoid foods your child does not tolerate.
  • Cold air. Have your child cover his or her nose and mouth with a scarf on cold or windy days.
  • Other medicines. Tell your child's doctor about all the medicines your child takes.
  • Emotional / stress. Stressful situations that lead to changes in breathing can make asthma worse

Results of Reducing Asthma Triggers

  • Asthma is better controlled
  • Fewer asthma attacks
  • Less need for wheezing medications

Reference / Information Source

Doc Monaghan: Asthma Education Parent Guide: (2000 - 2006 Monaghan Medical Corp.)

Additional Resources

Last Updated 07/2022

Reviewed By Abbey Scott, RRT