According to experts, it's possible for indoor allergies to aggravate your airways. And while not everyone with asthma has allergies, there still exists a big overlap.

For people with indoor allergies and asthma, common triggers such as dust mites, cockroach droppings, pet dander, and mold can certainly spark their symptoms. The relationship between allergies and asthma results from a chain reaction that occurs in your body when it comes into contact with your allergy triggers and launches an immune system attack against them. This causes a release of immunoglobulin E (also referred to as IgE) into your bloodstream, which in turn leads your body to create histamines. This can affect the airways and cause asthma symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, and trouble breathing.

Reducing Your Exposure to Allergy and Asthma Triggers

The best way to protect yourself is to clean your home to keep it free from your triggers. This can make a significant difference, according to the results of a study released by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the University of Michigan in fall 2010. The researchers looked at asthma control programs and found that participants who addressed environmental triggers reduced emergency room visits and also improved their quality of life.

You can allergy-proof your home and reduce allergies and asthma symptoms by doing the following:

  • Banish allergens from your bedroom. Remove carpeting, curtains, stuffed animals, and any other items that attract dust mites.
  • Keep paper, books, and plants away from your bed. These things can trigger indoor allergies and asthma symptoms.
  • Banish your pets from the bedroom. Bathe them often to remove allergens trapped in their fur.
  • Keep your windows closed. This is particularly crucial when pollen levels are high.
  • Wash your bedding often. Use very hot water to get rid of any and all allergy triggers.
  • Encase your box spring, mattress, and pillows. Use hypoallergenic covers to trap in dust mites so that they can't trigger your symptoms.
  • Vacuum a few times a week. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter would be the most preferable.
  • Fix any dripping pipes or leaking water. It's important that your kitchen and bathroom are mold-free, which make it a hostile environment for cockroaches.
  • Seal cracks in your walls. Then sweep up crumbs promptly to prevent bugs.
  • Run your air conditioner or a dehumidifier. This keeps the humidity level in your home low to prevent mold growth.
  • Wear a facemask when cleaning. This will impede you from breathing in allergens or fumes from cleaning products.

While allergy-proofing your home can make a difference in preventing indoor allergies and reducing asthma symptoms, make sure you also follow your asthma action plan. Be sure to use your asthma medication as directed, monitor your breathing capacity every day with your peak flow monitor, and be on the lookout for a change in symptoms so you can treat them promptly.


"Asthma Health Outcomes Project: EPA-Funded Study Finds Key Elements of Successful Asthma Programs." Environmental Protection Agency. EPA, 5 Oct. 2010. Web, 13 Feb. 2011.

"Do Allergies Cause Asthma?" TeensHealth from Nemours., Oct. 2010. Web, 16 Feb. 2011.

Stephenson, Joan. "Indoor Allergens and Asthma." JAMA. 283(7); (2000): 875. Web, 13 Feb. 2011.

"Tips to Remember: Indoor Allergens." American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. AAAAI, n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2011.