Alternative medicine (1)
- Asthma treatment: Do complementary and alternative approaches work?
- Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs)
- Allergies and asthma: They often occur together
Lifestyle and home remedies (3)
- Asthma in adults: Creating an asthma action plan
- Asthma-friendly products: Do they help reduce symptoms?
- Exercise and chronic disease: Get the facts
Risk factors (2)
- Pregnancy and asthma: Managing your symptoms
- Secondhand smoke: Avoid dangers in the air
- Symptom Checker
Tests and diagnosis (4)
- Asthma: Steps in testing and diagnosis
- Nitric oxide test for asthma
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Treatments and drugs (4)
- Asthma treatment: 3 steps to better asthma control
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- Asthma inhalers: Which one's right for you?
- see all in Treatments and drugs
Asthma-friendly products: Do they help reduce symptoms?
Consider certified products
The Asthma & Allergy Friendly Certification Program conducts tests to determine which products are most suitable for people with asthma. The program is run by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), a nonprofit organization. After testing, the program endorses the products it feels work best. Products that are certified include:
- Vacuum cleaners
- Washing machines
- Air cleaners
- Cleaning products
Examples of how the program certifies products include certifying certain stuffed toys don't contain irritating chemicals and can withstand repeated washing. Also, vacuum cleaners and air cleaners are tested to confirm that they reduce allergens to certain levels.
This type of testing and certification seems like a good idea, but there's some controversy about the program. There aren't outside studies that show that products endorsed by the program are superior to others. Many products that reduce common asthma triggers haven't been tested by the program — and these products may work just as well as certified products. While Asthma & Allergy Friendly Certification lets you know a product has been tested, it isn't a guarantee that it will reduce your asthma symptoms.
Take other steps to eliminate your asthma triggers
Unfortunately, eliminating asthma triggers isn't as easy as buying an air filter or a mattress cover. You'll never completely get rid of all triggers in your home. Using certain products may help, but other steps are just as important:
- Control trigger sources. Learn what steps to take to limit your exposure to pet dander, rodents, cockroaches, cigarette smoke or other things that trigger your asthma. Use an air filter and consider replacing carpet with hard flooring.
- Clean on a regular basis. Regular, thorough cleaning is critical to keeping asthma triggers at bay. Wash toys and bedding in hot water and vacuum on a regular basis. Use a vacuum cleaner that has high-efficiency particle air filter (HEPA filter), if possible.
- Maintain the products you have. Follow instructions on cleaning and maintaining appliances such as vacuum cleaners and air filters.
Have allergies, but not asthma? These tips may still apply
Some household allergens that trigger asthma can also trigger allergic rhinitis (hay fever) symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose and sneezing. Products that claim to be asthma-friendly may also be helpful in reducing your particular allergy triggers. As with asthma, the key to deciding whether a product may help is to determine whether it's likely to reduce your exposure to the triggers that affect you.
When considering whether to buy a product that might help reduce asthma or allergy symptoms, weigh the potential benefits with the cost in light of your specific triggers and environment. Don't rely on manufacturer claims. Get advice from your doctor, and do research on your own to find out which products are worth a try — and which ones aren't.Previous page
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- Platts-Mills TA. Indoor allergen avoidance in the treatment of asthma and allergic rhinitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 27, 2010.
- Volatile organic compounds in your home. Minnesota Department of Health. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/voc/. Accessed Aug. 27, 2010.
- Li JT (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 11, 2010.
- Asthma & Allergy Friendly Certification Program. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.asthmaandallergyfriendly.com. Accessed Sept. 16, 2010.
- Mangan JM, et al. Trigger control to enhance asthma management. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 7, 2010.