Asthma Triggers Lurk Indoors in Winter

Not everyone with asthma gets a break in winter. Learn how indoor triggers work and how you can reduce them.

By Gregg Newby, Staff Writer

People who have seasonal allergies often view winter as a time of year to catch a break. The lack of airborne pollens and grasses has many of them breathing a sigh of relief.

But for some people with asthma, the wind and cold are just backdrops to a season of misery. This is because they are sensitive to indoor allergens. Spending more time inside brings greater exposure to dust, pet dander, mold, cockroaches, and other allergens.

Asthma triggers cause airways to swell and narrow, making it hard to breathe. But you can help prevent allergy-induced asthma symptoms in the home.

What you can do

Control dust mites
Dust mites are tiny bugs that live in dust. They are mostly found in mattresses, pillows, carpet, and bedding. Their droppings are a common allergy and asthma trigger. Be sure to:

Eliminate mold
Molds are microscopic fungi with spores that float in the air. Mold grows in moist places during the winter or areas that may not be routinely cleaned and disinfected:

To get rid of mold:

Banish cockroaches
A protein in cockroach droppings triggers symptoms. Clean practices can help.

Avoid pets
Having an animal in the home can make some people¿s asthma worse. You may need to find another home for your pet. But if you can't do that:

People with increased symptoms from indoor allergens should speak to a doctor. Your doctor may adjust your asthma medications to help control symptoms and avoid complications.