Thursday, April 1, 2010

Green Cleaning: Avoiding Asthma and Allergy Triggers

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.

Belinda Huffman, pulmonary health and diagnostic coordinator at Dayton Children’s, has a lot of experience helping children with asthma and their families minimize exposure to triggers in the environment. 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.

Belinda gives these four "green" cleaning tips to reduce asthma triggers:

  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.
For more infomation about green cleaning and living with asthma visit our Kohl's a Minute for Kids microsite!

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