Asthma UK community forum
9,831 members16,610 posts

Asthma and Mums working

I saw a programme on TV which suggested a link between children's asthma and, among other things, dustmites.

This gave me the idea of a link between asthma, especially in children, and mums who are too tired and/or busy to do the extra cleaning required. A mum in full time work must find it dificult to do even ordinary housework. I suspect that it would be economical to spend money enabling these mums to work less instead of on all the treatments.

I would like to hear from parents of children with asthma who work, those who do not work, working mums whoes children do not suffer, Non working mums whoes children do/do not suffer.

Ana Hyde

8 Replies

I rather suspect that you may get several indignant/rather cross replies to this from working mums!

There is little evidence to suggest that decreasing house dust mites actually helps in asthma/eczema relief. But the work involved in reducing the dust mite load is little more than regular housework; it involves using a vacuum cleaner with an adequate filter, perhaps replacing the bedroom carpet with hard flooring, washing bedclothes at high temperatures and placing soft toys in the freezer intermittently to kill the mites. None of these measures are particularly more time-consuming that everyday run-of-the-mill housework.

I work full time and along with my husband we manage perfectly well to do regular housework. In the future I imagine we may well have children and if there emerges strong evidence that going over the house every day with a fine tooth-comb to get rid of dustmites will help if they have asthma/eczema, then I would make sure we did it - working full-time or not.


What i think is important to understand is that the time spent doing the things suggested will in turn assisit in the management/control of asthma/eczema symptoms. This then cuts down the time spent at gps appts, hospital visits etc. I certainly know which i prefer to do.

I have been working and non working mum but have always made the time to do the measures needed.

Through controlling my sons allergies with the suggested things it made a huge difference to both asthma and eczema. Not a cure but a help so giving him the best chance when the things we cant control like colds etc happen so that he is strong enough cope.

I respect that there are some children you can do it all for and they still are seriously ill. Those prarents have a tough time and I admire their deication as there are a few on here who give their kids their all and still have to watch them struggle daily.


I apologise if I have caused any upset, however I don't see how my post can be construed as what you say it is. This is after all a ""discussion"" board, so I do feel that you may expect negative as well as positive replies; after all, if we all agreed with each other the world would be a very boring place :)

My post was intended as a friendly warning that you may get some, erm, interesting replies from working mums, particularly on the back of quite a few comments on the ""Dispatches"" thread which raised points such as people being considered ""substandard"" or ""dirty"" re: housework etc. It was not intended to criticise.

As this is a discussion forum, surely the right to reply is implicit anyway?!


Cathy I personally had no problem with your post which i thought was fair and reasonable. I think personally think you have a duty of care to help your kids the best you can working or not. It is not anyone elses responsibility but the parent. Why should a working Mum get extra financail help to that of one who is not working?

I felt for the mums in that programme but only in the way that they had never been given the advice about what they can do to help their children. I do beleive armed with that advice they should then at least try and find the time. I admittedly only have one child so can concentrate on him but he has learnt to go without the sweets that make him ill and the foods that make him worse. To have things the way suits his health the best as it means less time being ill. I would prefer anyday to make time to clean and dust his room than see him ill as for him it made a huge difference.

One question Alf(ana) why use a female name when you have said you are a 69 year old male in your pm to me?


I assume that, since there's no moderator edit showing, the second post from Ana/Alf has been deleted by the user themselves?

Speedy - good question!


Ah, no; actually they decided to post the response in another thread entirely! Have just found it.

How random.


ok I decided tonight not to read the dispatches thread as I was so wound up by the programme and instead i have stumbled across this (wishing I hadnt)

I am extremly insulted by the latest offering by Ana that working parents have difficulty keeping a clean house. I presume you dont have an asthmatic child (correct me if im wrong).

Let me enlighten you from our experience. My son was born in a sterile hospital room fighting for breath, I then sat watching him fight for life on a ventilator for 3 weeks , none of this caused by the dust mite or dirty house.He has had several asthmatic labels over the years like severe,brittle,chronic,difficult. Since then I have been both a working and non working parent dependant on his medical needs. As a Working parents I didnt work 7 days per week 24 hours a day so I did cleaning on myday off like the rest of the population does.

As im sure many parens of a chronically sick child will tell you, over the years we become used to lack of sleep,used to spending most of night nebbing ,used to family life revolving around emergancy hospital visits at 3am but one thing you never get used to is watching your child cough/wheeze/turn blue feeling damn helpless cos u cant breath for them,pacing up and down at hospital praying this attack isnt going to be the one that your child isnt strong enough to cope with.

If after working all day I needed to clean my sons room all night then thats what i would do if I thought it would help because as his mum i would do anything to make him well. Unfortunatly I have to accept that I have bought covers for bed,damp dusted,cleaned and also given my son a cocktail of drugs and cleaning doesnt keep my son alive but his drugs do, we dont live in a show house or an air bubble we live ina family home where maybe we could have the odd mite lurking in a carpet so if in your world that makes me a bad parent and responsible for my sons illness .

If you find doing a days work and keeping your house clean a problem thats your issue but how dare you suggest working parents are unable to find time to clean therefore making their child ill. I would very much like to see proof that my working to help provide for my children has made my son a severe asthmatic.

Just one more piont, I assume an hdu or icu bed space meets your dust free criteria so what would be the reason that my son spends days/weeks on numerous IV's and 10L oxygen with no instant improvement? Maybe I should ask his con at RBH if it's because im a working mum......I think not!


Surely the question should be what difference does it make whether a mum works or not. At the end of the day I would presume that any mother would do their best to help their child.

I know a lady who worked from home as a childminder when her children were at school and in an effort to help them as they were all asthmatic she would hover their mattress every day dust their rooms and change their bedding once a week. As a student with her at the time it showed me the lengths that anyone would go to to help their child.

As for the dispatches programme It appeared as though those kids were going to live in a bubble. Probably some of those ideas would help but at the end of it all please someone correct me if I am wrong but by spring cleaning your house every day you are not going to stop your child being asthmatic but by being extra vigulant you may or can ease the symptoms of asthma.


You may also like...