Asthma symptoms: Certain cleaning products may increase symptoms and allergies


Asthma affects roughly 5.4 million people, confirmed Asthma UK. Doing all you can to reduce symptoms being triggered is pertinent if suffering with these conditions. Could this mean staying away from certain cleaning products?

Products such as bleach, glass cleaner, detergents and air fresheners exacerbated asthma-related symptoms for the women, and their reduced lung function lasted until the morning after exposure, in some cases getting worse with time.

One study recorded the different types of cleaning products as well as how the participants used them, such as in spray or liquid form.

The list included 14 different generic cleaning agents including bleach, detergents, degreasers, carpet cleaners and waxes and polishes.

On average, the women used just over two different types of cleaning products each day, and were exposed to at least one strong irritant, such as ammonia, bleach or hydrochloric acid.

The researchers found that during this period, 17 women reported having at least one upper respiratory tract symptom, such as sneezing, scratchy throat and runny nose.

Eighteen women also reported at least one lower respiratory tract symptom, such as coughing, wheezing or chest pain.

There was a stronger association between exposure to cleaning products and developing these symptoms among women with a history of asthma, as compared to the rest of the group.

There is evidence to suggest that the use of household cleaning products can contribute to the development of allergies and asthma in the first place.

According to Asthma UK, professional cleaners and those who use a lot of cleaning products (like janitors or nurses) are more at risk of developing asthma.

On the other hand, many of these chemicals are strong irritants that may irritate the nose, eyes, lungs and throat, causing symptoms that merely appear similar to asthma and allergies such as sneezing, watery eyes and wheezing, to name a few.

Doctor Samantha Walker, Director of Policy and Research at Asthma UK said: “Cleaning products can be toxic for people with asthma as they often contain chemical compounds that can inflame the airways, leaving people prone to an asthma attack.

“It is deeply concerning that this study shows cleaning products can cause long-term lung damage for people with asthma.

“At Asthma UK we’d advise people with the condition who do a lot of cleaning to speak to their GP or nurse about what they can realistically do to reduce the risk of having an asthma attack.

“This could include using solid or liquid cleaning products instead of sprays, avoiding scented products and ensuring the area where they clean is well-ventilated. For more information visit”

Allergic asthma is a lung condition that is triggered by allergens such as pollen or mould.

It causes the muscles in the bronchioles of the lungs to contract, restricting air movement in and out of the lungs.

Allergies more generally are an extreme immune response to an external factor, such as pollen, dust mites, mould and pet dander.

Allergic reactions include a runny or blocked nose, sneezing, wheezing, watering eyes, itchy eyes and an itchy throat.



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