Tips for Minimizing Common Allergic Asthma Triggers in Your Home

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

Hello and welcome to the program. I’m your host, Neal Howard here on Health
Professional Radio. Thank you for joining us. May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month,
a very important time to be aware of allergic triggers in your home. Now, here to talk about some tips to reduce
allergic asthma triggers is interior designer, Robin Wilson joined by allergist, Dr. Beth
Corn. They’re here to provide some information about
logic asthma and some overall management of the condition. Welcome to the program both, Robin Wilson
and Dr. Beth Corn. Thank you for having us. First, just a bit of background about yourself,
Dr. Corn. I understand you are an allergist. Is that always been your main interest in
medicine? Yes. Absolutely. I find it very diverse, interesting and dynamic. We’re here talking about allergic asthma. I thought that asthma was asthma. What is it about allergic asthma that differentiates
it from other types of asthma or allergies? Right. Well, what most people think about asthma
they think about the condition of someone who’s wheezing, complaining of chest tightness,
coughing, is uncomfortable because they’re short of breath. The majority of times when people have asthma,
the trigger is an allergic trigger and when we talk about these triggers we need actual
allergens like things that you find in the home such as dust mite, dander from pets and
where I come from, the big city we actually even see cockroach debris. But people can also have other types of asthma
where their triggers are not allergic in nature but they can be simple things like cold air,
dry air, exercise and even stress can set off someone’s asthma symptoms. How do you pinpoint allergic asthma? Is there some special way that it’s diagnosed
and treated? Yes. If one is having any symptoms, breathing symptoms,
if they’re uncomfortable, one should go to either an allergist or pulmonologist to get
evaluated and during that evaluation, they will be tested for allergies. What does that mean? They will be tested for the IgE antibody. IgE is the antibody that an allergic person
makes, again the particular thing that they’re allergic to – dust mites, our pets. The way that this is done is through a simple
skin test which can be placed on the arm and within 20 minutes you can know what you’re
allergic to or a blood test where a tube of blood is gone sent to the lab and the next
day, the allergist or pulmonologist can tell the
asthmatic what it is that they were allergic to and what triggers they have to avoid. Now, this is something that has to be done
by an allergist. This is not something that you can do at your
home. No. The allergists or pulmonologists specialize
in asthma and they have a particular interest in allergic asthma. So they’re very keen on finding out what the
triggers are, what you’re allergic to. Robin, I understand you were diagnosed at
an early age. How early were you diagnosed and what were
some of your triggers? How did it all come about and how are you
managing today? Well, today I am just fine. I however before the age of 6 was wheezing
all the time. And my
parents took me to the pediatrician and he prescribed multiple things but one of the
things that was key for my parents was he said your indoor air quality at home can actually
affect your quality of life. So my parents became cleaning machines. They actually took out the shag carpet which
was a trigger. They recognized dust mites were triggers. So they really ardently cleaned the bedding
that we slept on and so many other things that they did to allow me to live a wonderful
quality of life. Everyone’s experience will be different but
it’s really important that you work with a pediatrician, medical practitioner to really
understand what your triggers are. So that you can reduce them in your in your
home. Has learning about your asthma and managing
it throughout years, does it play any role in your decision to be an interior designer
or are the two just coincidental? Well, it’s very funny. I was in Corporate America for several years
and the company I worked for did an IPO and I was given the opportunity to do anything
I wanted and so I thought real estate and design coincided and especially as Dr. Corn
stated when you look at buildings – “How are buildings built?, Are they built in a
clean manner?, What are some of the materials that should be used that are smooth, that
don’t allow just to gather?,” and then of course design. I built a business that has really advised
and helped people and my recent book Clean Design was the number one on Amazon and people
really review it because it has everything from the nursery to the kitchen and things
that you need to do. But one of the things that I think that we
all have to remember is when you look at your home, you have whether it’s your living space,
your sleeping space, your living space or your kitchen, they’re all places that people
gather, that dust can gather, that any other number of triggers can gather, and if you
don’t know what your triggers are you might not feel so great when you come home and that
should certainly be your sanctuary. Let’s talk a bit about Breathing Space. What is breathing space and why did you become
get involved specifically? Well, I believe if you have good information,
you should share it and I’m so thrilled that this Breathing Space Campaign which is funded
by Novartis and Genentech and partnered with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
as well as the Allergy and Asthma Network. They come together. They’ve created a wonderful website that has
free information, tips, some videos, downloadable material and really guides people. I think that you should tell everyone, go
to Learn more, learn simple tips and tricks and
lead a lifestyle that’s really fulfilling if you have year-round allergies. Dr. Corn, what would you say is the best way
to get the conversation started or at least clarify some things when you have a patient
such as myself who thought asthma was asthma across the board a little bit of understanding? How you get there with your patients? Well, first I want to know how much the patient
really understands what’s going on with them. So I want to how well controlled somebody
is and so I’ll ask the patient, “How often are you reaching for your rescue inhaler during
the week? How often you’re having symptoms? Is it more than a couple of times a week? Are you waking up at night because of your
asthma symptoms?” If this is happening several times a month
that lets me know that their asthma symptoms are not well controlled. If they’ve been seen by either myself or another
doctor and I realized that there have been on oral steroids … within a 12 month period,
I know that their asthma is not well controlled. So if you have the answer of yes to any of
the questions that I just asked then I realize and as all of us do in the field in allergy
and pulmonary medicine that it is time to implement change in a current regimen of what
this patient is doing because they are having frequent symptoms and we have got to minimize
symptoms so that someone can have a life free of asthma exacerbation. Doctor, when it comes to asthma we’ve heard
kids grow out of it. Is that a myth or is this something that can
actually happen with regular asthma as well as allergic asthma. Well, everybody’s different and as Robin said
everyone has their own stories and there are … people who over the years will get better
but there are just as many people who over the years develop asthma. We’re all moving targets and it’s important
that we maintain a very close relationship with our allergist, with our pulmonologist
so that we’re monitored and that we’re only taking the medications that we need when we
need them but that we’re also getting enough of what we need and enough advice of how to
avoid triggers, how to minimize our allergens. This is key. And once again the website is Is that correct? That is correct. All right. The campaign is called Breathing Space. I thank both of you for joining us today interior
designer, Robin Wilson, and allergist, Dr. Beth Corn. Thank you. Great. You’ve been listening to Health Professional
Radio. I’m your host, Neal Howard. Transcripts and audio of this program are
available at and also at

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