A variety of things in the environment can make asthma
symptoms worse. These are called "triggers."
Your doctor can help you figure out what your child's triggers are.
Dust mites are a common trigger for many kids.
What Are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are microscopic bugs that live in household dust. They eat skin cells
that people shed. They're especially plentiful in upholstered furniture, on some kinds
of bedding, and in rugs. The highest concentration of dust mites in the home is usually
How Can I Help My Child Deal With Them?
Vacuum and dust your home (especially your child's bedroom) often — at least
once a week. Use a special small-pore filter bag on your vacuum or buy a vacuum with
a HEPA filter. When you dust, use a damp cloth to avoid spreading dust mite particles
in the air.
Avoid feather or down pillows or comforters; choose bedding made with synthetic
Wash or change sheets weekly. Every few weeks, wash all of your child's bedding
in hot water (higher than 130ºF or 54.4ºC) and dry it on a high setting.
Cover mattresses, pillows, and box springs with mite-proof covers (available at
many large retail stores and also online). Be sure to regularly wipe down the covers.
Remove any carpeting, especially wall-to-wall carpeting, from your child's bedroom
and other spaces where he or she spends a lot of time.
If you have area rugs, make sure they're washable and clean them weekly in hot
Make sure window coverings in your child's room can be washed or cleaned easily.
Stay away from blinds, which have lots of horizontal surfaces that catch dust, or
fancy curtains with lots of folds, which have to be dry cleaned. Wash all window coverings
Avoid upholstered furniture and pillows.
Clean up clutter. Clear away knickknacks, picture frames, and plants that collect
Store most of your child's books in a room other than his or her bedroom or playroom.
Keep your child's collection of stuffed animals to a minimum. Any plush toys that
your little one just can't live without should be washed often in hot water (if they
don't contain batteries) and then dried on your dryer's highest setting. You also
can seal these toys in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer for at least 5 hours
or overnight (dust mites can't survive more than 5 hours of freezing temperatures).
Avoid using a humidifier, especially in your child's bedroom.
Run a dehumidifier in the basement or other damp areas of your home. Empty and
clean the water pan often.