You may already be working hard to protect your child from common asthma triggers, such as seasonal allergens, tobacco smoke, excessive dust in your home, and the dander from household pets. However, what you may not realize is that some of the most common chemicals that you use for cleaning your home may actually be what is causing your child’s difficult breathing episodes. In particular, disinfectants, many of which are being used heavily during these days of COVID-19, can be particularly problematic for children and even adults who already have chronic respiratory issues. Here is how you can ensure that your house stays clean while keeping your loved ones safe.
Use Products As Directed
Be sure you never mix chemicals and disinfectants, and never use more than is recommended on the bottle.
Find Safe Products
Some chemicals are more apt to cause asthma attacks than others are. Try choosing products certified by the EPA’s Safer Choice program, such as those containing hydrogen peroxide or ethyl alcohol. Avoid bleach and ammonia-containing products as well as products with added fragrances.
Improve Household Ventilation While Cleaning
Consider opening doors and windows while cleaning, if possible. You can also turn on exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms. If possible, install a high-efficiency air filter in your HVAC system.
Clean One Area of the House at a Time
By focusing on a single area at a time and ensuring that your child stays in an area that is not being cleaned, you can keep her away from chemical-laden triggers. If she does happen to experience an asthma attack in a recently cleaned area, move her into an area with better ventilation.
You can recognize an asthma flare-up in your child if she suddenly begins taking quick, shallow breaths or starts wheezing or coughing. If your child has an inhaler for use during flare-ups, you should have her use it immediately. If the problem does not resolve quickly, you will need to seek emergency medical care for your child.