Asthma and a Home Flood or Fire

We talk a lot about damage restoration from a restoration perspective on this blog, but today we want to take a little time to talk about one of the health conditions that is quickly affected by home disasters—asthma.

Almost 26 million Americans suffer from asthma. To put that into perspective, that is every man, woman, and child living in New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, San Jose, Austin, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Indianapolis, San Diego, and San Antonio combined. It’s quite likely that you know someone who suffers from asthma.

Asthma is a condition where people’s airways become restricted. Many times, this is an allergic response, but it can also be non-allergic (intrinsic), too. What does it do in layman’s terms? It makes it hard to move air in and out of the lungs. Coughing, wheezing, and a feeling of tightness in the chest are all signs of asthma.

For people who have trouble breathing, which is awfully scary, home damage due to floods (and fire) can unleash a wide selection of triggers that make asthma worse. Here are some of the reasons those who suffer from asthma should take extra precautions after a flood or fire:

  • Smoke and dust are major triggers, as are mold spores and dust mites. All of these are present in greater numbers following a home fire. Mold spores and other noxious chemicals are present in home floods.
  • Strong chemical smells are also a trigger for asthma—even cleanup supplies like bleach can cause an asthma attack in an individual.
  • Stress and anxiety, something very common after a home disaster, can also trigger an asthma attack.
  • Cold air is another asthma trigger. When someone with asthma has to leave a burning home and go out in the winter air to wait for emergency crews or there is damage to a home that allows winter air inside, asthma sufferers can experience an attack.

Asthma attacks range in severity from nuisance to fatal. If you are experiencing a disaster with someone who has asthma, take extra precautions to make sure that person doesn’t suffer needlessly. Try to take on more clean-up responsibilities or hire a professional team to do the work. Make sure the person stays calm throughout the disaster restoration. Most importantly, make sure to have an inhaler available and alert any on-site emergency crews if an asthma sufferer is having difficulties.

About Henry

Having grown up in the family business, Henry Duckstein, Jr., is a hands-on owner at Duckstein Restoration. He's always available to our customers and believes that hard work, experience, and communication are the keys to successful restoration projects.