Media Release: Dayton Childrenís and Kohlís Department Stores tips to reduce asthma and allergy triggers

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04-01-2010 (Dayton, OH) -

When you have a child with asthma, spring cleaning is taken to a whole new level. You want to eliminate asthma triggers such as pollen, dust mites, mold and pet dander, but you need to be aware of how the cleaning itself can also be a trigger.

The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton and Kohl’s Department Stores, as a part of the Kohl’s “A Minute for Kids” Campaign, encourage parents to learn some key spring “green” cleaning tips to reduce asthma and allergy triggers.
"Environmental control - minimizing exposure to asthma triggers in the home - is key to controlling asthma attacks," says Belinda Huffman, pulmonary health and diagnostic coordinator at Dayton Children’s.

Because asthma is the number-one diagnosis at Dayton Children’s, Huffman and other members of the pulmonary care team offer unparalleled expertise in caring for children with asthma and other respiratory disorders.

The experts at Dayton Children’s offer these four "green" cleaning tips as you begin your spring cleaning:

  1. Use your nose. Select cleaning products without strong or harsh scents. See guidelines below for choosing "healthier" cleaning products.  Always follow instructions on cleaning products and keep lids and caps tightly sealed when not in use. Ingredients from solids and liquids give off vapors that we inhale and may enter our body tissues. Try to use as few cleaning products as possible. It’s not always necessary to have different products for the kitchen and bathroom.
  2. Read labels. Avoid products marked "Danger" or "Poison." Reduce your use of products marked "Caution" or "Warning."  Reduce your use of products containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These include aerosol sprays, cleaners, disinfectants, moth repellents and air fresheners.
  3. Look for "green" products. Some have been certified by an independent institution such as GreenSeal. Just because something as a "natural-sounding" name doesn’t mean it is free of chemicals you want to avoid.
  4. Make your own. You can make your own cleaning products from simple and inexpensive ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, salt, soap and water.  There are many books and online resources to help you make your own cleaning products.

There are also many things that you can do in your home to control asthma triggers:

  • Dust mites can be found throughout the house, but thrive in high humidity. Try to keep humidity below 50 percent throughout the house. Weekly vacuuming can help remove dust mites. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or double bag, since standard or water-filtered vacuum cleaners stir up dust. Also vacuuming and dusting can stir up dust. Try to clean when children with asthma and allergies are not around. Use mattress and pillow casings that can be removed and washed weekly.
  • Animal dander, saliva or urine are allergy culprits - not the animal’s hair. There is no such thing as hypoallergenic breeds of dogs or cats. If animals are a problem for your child, the most effective solution is to get rid of the pet.  Keeping an animal outside is only partially effective. Before getting a pet for your child, spend time with a friend or neighbor’s pet to see if they have an allergic reaction. Pets without fur or feathers may also be an option. Consider fish, turtles, hermit crabs, snakes, etc.
  • Cockroach droppings are a primary asthma trigger, especially for children in densely populated urban areas.  A clean, dry house is not appealing to roaches. Keep food in tightly sealed containers. Clean and put food dishes away after eating. Vacuum and sweep the floor after meals and clean under stoves and refrigerators where crumbs can hide. Block places where roaches can enter the house. If you use a professional exterminator, make sure you, your children and pets leave the house during the extermination.
  • Indoor molds and mildews are easily eliminated once they are discovered. Use a cleaning solution of five percent bleach and a small amount of detergent. If mold or mildew is visible in the carpeting or wall covering, remove these from your house. Promptly repair and seal leaking roofs and pipes.
  • Keep kitchen and bathroom surfaces clean and wash hands frequently to minimize the spread of colds and flu, which may also trigger asthma attacks.
  • Do not allow smoking in the house or outside near windows and doors. Make sure fireplaces and wood-burning stoves are well ventilated.
  • Use exhaust fans when cooking to minimize strong odors and smoke.
  • Weather permitting - low pollen, molds, humidity, air pollution - open windows to air out the house when cooking, cleaning, painting, etc.

"There are ways kids can enjoy the spring season while reducing their changes of having allergy symptoms or an asthma attack," says Huffman. She reminds parents that at the beginning of spring there are a lot of trees and grass blooming, which creates pollen. The steps below will help minimize children’s exposure to these seasonal allergens.

Controlling children’s asthma and allergy attacks

  1. Keep kids indoors when the pollen count or humidity is high.
  2. Do not allow children with asthma to be around freshly cut grass.
  3. When children come in from the outdoors, change their clothes and give them a bath to wash off any pollen on the body or in the hair before going to bed.
  4. Don’t air out the house when the pollen and humidity are high.
  5. The dampness of "April showers" can create mold. Clean out gutters and irrigating drains. This helps prevent water build-up.
  6. Let sunlight in through the windows by opening shades and trimming bushes.
  7. During spring cleaning, keep children away from hard cleaning products and "go green." See tips above.
  8. If your child has asthma, remind him or her to take their inhaled controller medications so they can enjoy the warm weather outdoors.

If your child does have asthma, follow these three tips for using controller medicines:

  1. Take controller medicines daily. Controller medicine needs to be taken as directed by your child’s doctor, even when your child doesn’t have any symptoms.
  2. Set up a routine so your child doesn’t forget the daily medicine. For example, put the medicine next to your child’s toothbrush.
  3. Remind your child to rinse his or her mouth after inhaling corticosteroid (controller) medication.

Remember, kids need to play and be active -- even kids with asthma. "Exercise is important," says Huffman." Kids with asthma just need to take the proper precautions." For more information about Kohl’s “A Minute for Kids” Campaign visit http://www.childrensdayton.org/cms/site/0bdd99c7da5e93e5/index.html

About Kohl’s Department Stores
Based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Kohl’s is a family-focused, value-oriented specialty department store offering moderately priced, exclusive and national brand apparel, shoes, accessories, beauty and home products in an exciting shopping environment. Kohl’s operates 1,022 stores in 49. A company committed to the communities it serves, Kohl’s has raised more than $126 million for children’s initiatives nationwide through its Kohl’s Cares for Kids philanthropic program, which operates under Kohl's Cares, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kohl's Department Stores, Inc. For a list of store locations and information, or for the added convenience of shopping online, visit www.kohls.com.

For more information, contact:
Marketing Communications Department
Phone: 937-641-3666
marketing@childrensdayton.org

 

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