a woman looking up at cobwebs and dust

How Does Dust Affect Asthma?

Yesterday was a beautiful, warm Saturday. But weirdly warm. In fact - it was 82 degrees! In mid-October! I live near the mountains and it's very unusual to have warm weather in the fall. The pumpkins on our front porch are slowly melting into a soggy puddle. I guess this just adds to the weirdness of 2020. Since it was so warm, we decided to organize our shed. Doesn't that sound like a fun Saturday? It's all the fault of a home organizing show we are watching online. They make it look SO easy. I blame them. Last Saturday's first try made a dusty, dirty mess. As we know, dust and asthma aren't a great mix.

Why is it that you have to make a bigger mess before you can get all of your boxes organized and back on the shelves? I know that dust is one of my worst asthma triggers, so I wore a dust mask to protect my cranky lungs. I have always been extra sensitive to dust. So, I am not excited to try to clean out a shed or garage.

Being careful around dust

I knew cleaning our shed was going to be hard for me. The cobwebs and dusty floor were visual warnings for my lungs. Since the Hubster doesn't have asthma (but does have allergies), he did most of the cleaning while I sorted out the items on the lawn.

Since I'm the mom of our family (and have full rights to nag people...) I made sure we both wore dust masks, and I wore my glasses. The Hubster doesn't wear glasses (lucky guy), so he had nothing to protect his eyes. He said he didn't need goggles, and would be just fine. I thought, "Mmhmm. You just try that and see how that works for you!"

He started sneezing, his eyes turned red and swelled up, but he wouldn't wear goggles (he said his eyes were already swollen, so what's the point?) And he's the type of guy who starts a project and won't stop until he finishes. So we kept going, swollen eyes and all.

Tips for dealing with dust and asthma

After we finished the shed, it was time to wash up. The asthma doctor taught us some good tips about dealing with dust and other asthma triggers. He taught us to:

  • Blow our nose to get the dust out
  • Shower (includes washing our hair)
  • Throw the dusty clothes into the laundry basket

We were both tired that night and slept well, and my lungs were very happy.

When you're not careful around dust

Yesterday, we decided to finish the shed. The wire shelving unit we put up last week worked so well, we decided to add another set of wire shelves. We did the same precautions as last week - or so I thought.

This time, I didn't know that The Hubster hadn't showered before bed. I woke up several times last night, coughing and struggling to breathe. I asked him if he showered before bed last night, and he said he didn't even think about it. Guess I should have nagged him! We've only been dealing with allergies and asthma for over 20 years... you would think it would be part of our routine by now!

Still experiencing lung pain from dust and asthma

My lungs are REALLY cranky today. In fact, they are quite painful. I had a couple of puffs of my albuterol inhaler, and I finally stopped coughing. But my chest is still tight and sore. It will take several days for my lungs to calm down.

Lesson learned? Remember what the asthma doctor taught us and take precautions against dust EVERY time!

Who else has a tough time when you are in dusty areas? Share in the comments below!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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