Do asthma-friendly products reduce symptoms?

Published On: Dec 16 2013 12:47:26 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 02 2014 11:47:10 AM EST

By Mayo Clinic News Network

If you have asthma, your doctor probably recommended that you take steps to control asthma triggers in your home. Purchasing asthma-friendly products may seem like a good step. However, you may be wondering if asthma-friendly products will help reduce your symptoms and if they're worth the cost.

Ranging from plush toys to vacuum cleaners, a number of manufacturers claim that their asthma-friendly products reduce asthma triggers better than other products. But often these claims aren't backed up with solid evidence. While there's no sure way to tell how much a particular product might help ease your asthma symptoms, here are some tips to keep in mind before spending your money.

Identify whether a product is likely to reduce your particular triggers

Each person's asthma is set off by certain pollutants or allergy-causing substances (allergens). Common household asthma triggers include:

Even if a product claims to reduce asthma-triggering substances, it will help you only if it limits your exposure to the particular things that trigger your symptoms. For example, if dust mites trigger your asthma, you may benefit from a mattress cover that helps contain or eliminate them. But buying paint that releases lower amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air might not be as important. Some products, such as air cleaners and washing machines, help remove several common asthma triggers.

If you're like most people with asthma, you have multiple triggers. If you're uncertain about which particular triggers affect you, your doctor may recommend allergy skin testing to identify them. This will give you a better idea about what household triggers you need to avoid.

Research before you spend your money

When deciding whether a product is worth purchasing, don't just rely on claims from the manufacturer. Look for objective product reviews. Use your own judgment and consider your doctor's advice about what products are likely to make a difference. Some places to get information before making a purchase include:

ake 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:

Have allergies, but not asthma? These tips may still apply

Some household allergens that trigger asthma can also trigger allergic rhinitis (hay fever) signs and 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 deciding whether to buy a product that might help reduce asthma or allergy symptoms, weigh the potential benefits with the cost in considering your specific triggers and environment. Don't rely solely 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.