Indoor air triggers and asthma
There are things in the air inside our homes and inside other buildings that can affect your child's asthma.
Activities that can affect the air in our homes and trigger asthma symptoms include:
- smoking or vaping indoors
- using cookers, especially gas cookers
- using open solid-fuel fires
- using candles and incense sticks
- using free-standing gas heaters
- using cleaning products, household sprays or aerosols and paints
- having a bath or shower
- air-drying clothes in the home
Asthma and Lung UK have put together 6 top tips to help families have cleaner air within their homes.
6 top tips
1. Open windows if you can (be careful on high pollen or pollution days) or use extractor fans, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. It will help clear any indoor pollutants and prevent damp and mould. Opening windows on cold days can make your home harder to heat. See our page on housing and keeping your home warm if you are struggling.
2. Reduce dust mites as much as possible by regularly washing bedding or using anti-allergy covers. Asthma and Lung UK have more information on dealing with dust mites.
3. Avoid aerosols and sprays. Instead go for non-spray cleaning and personal products.
4. Avoid strong smells and chemicals.
5. Don’t smoke indoors. Cigarette smoke is a dangerous asthma trigger and it can also make you and your child more sensitive to other indoor triggers. Your local stop smoking service is free and able to offer support to help you stop smoking.
6. Make sure any heaters, cookers and boilers are serviced regularly. Also make sure any new appliances are fitted properly with good ventilation.
Cookers and other home fuels affect the air we breathe
- Cookers give out fumes when you're cooking. Use an extractor fan or open a window. Let the fan run for 10 minutes after you finish cooking.
- Gas cookers give out the most pollution so good ventilation in the kitchen is even more important if you cook with gas.
- Get cookers checked and maintained at least once a year to make sure they’re not giving out too many fumes.
- Make sure new cookers are well installed.
- Use cleaner fuels when heating your home. If you have an open fire or wood burning stove, try cleaner fuels such as wood with a ‘Ready to burn’ symbol.
Further information and support
Asthma UK and Lung UK have produced more detailed advice on indoor asthma triggers.
Report any repairs, leaks or problems with mould or ventilation systems. If you’re living in social housing, contact your housing association or local authority in the first instance. If you’re renting privately, Shelter have information about talking to your landlord/landlady.
Get support if struggling to keep your home warm and dry. Citizen’s Advice offer advice on grants and benefits to help you pay your energy bills, and also advice on switching energy supplier. You may be able to access support from affordable warmth services in your local area such as help with repairing your boiler if you are on a low income. Contact your local council for more information.
The affordable warmth webpage gives contact details for services available to people living in West Yorkshire.