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Ask the Allergist

Ask the Allergist

Are my cleaning products affecting my asthma?

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Regular household cleaning products seem to trigger my asthma. What do I do if I can't find a mask to wear while cleaning? Do you have suggestions for products that may clean and disinfect?

Strong odors and airway irritants can be non-allergic triggers of asthma.

First, I would recommend using fewer toxic cleaning products like bleach. Warm water and soap work well for most things. If possible, open windows and run exhaust fans while cleaning. Avoid aerosol sprays.

Wearing any mask while cleaning may help. An N95 mask might work best if you can find one.

You can find more information on cleaning best practices here.

Asthma, Environmental Control, Indoor Air Quality
Answered by

Douglas T. Johnston, DO, FAAAAI, FACAAI, is an allergist/clinical immunologist at Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Assistant Professor at Edward Via School of Osteopathic Medicine in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He is a fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI). He has lectured at national and international medical conferences and has publications in several medical journals, including “Clinical Immunology,” “World Allergy Organization Journal,” “Journal of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology,” “The Journal of the American Medical Association,” and the “New England Journal of Medicine.”

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