3 Steps to an Asthma-Friendly Kitchen

Cooking your meals and even heating your kitchen could be a recipe for disaster.

1. Your Gas Appliances

If you have a gas stove or space heater in your kitchen, these appliances can let off an odorless gas called Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) that can spark asthma symptoms. Long-term exposure to NO2 can put you at increased risk for experiencing serious respiratory problems including chronic bronchitis.

Further, when NO2 is a problem, it usually isn't isolated to the kitchen area. Studies have found that it can easily spread to other rooms and floors of the house. Your respiratory system may be feeling the effects of this asthma trigger that can also irritate your eyes, nose, and throat.

2. The Act of Cooking

Cooking is a form of combustion and, as such, it releases gas and particles into the air. The smallest ones can irritate your airways and trigger asthma. Cooking on a barbecue grill can also cause problems for asthmatics.

3. Improper Ventilation

It can be bad enough when you have NO2 and other gases in the air from appliances or a freestanding gas or kerosene space heater. When improper ventilation exists in the room, the bad air can get trapped in your kitchen and make things even worse for your respiratory system.

Creating an Asthma-Friendly Kitchen

When it's time to do a kitchen makeover, the experts say your best bet is to invest in an electric stove, since this won't produce NO2 and therefore will be much better for your asthma.

In the meantime, here are some simple things you can do to head off respiratory symptoms:

  • Make sure your gas appliances are properly vented outside. (Check with the manufacturer if you need guidance on what's best for your specific models.)
  • Run an exhaust fan that's vented over your stove to help remove gas and other irritants from the air.
  • Open a window to help remove the bad air in your kitchen.
  • Try a floor fan to help with the process. Just be sure it's positioned strategically.
  • Keep flames on low when cooking.
  • Opt for a pilotless ignition on your gas appliances.
  • Rely on a tabletop electric skillet, a toaster oven, or a microwave to cook many of your meals.
  • Hire an expert to come in and check the safety of all of your fuel-burning appliances once a year.




"Asthma Triggers: Gain Control. Nitrogen Dioxide." U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA.gov, 8 June 2011. Web. 11 Sept. 2011.

"Nitrogen Dioxide." Aerias: Air Quality Sciences. IAQ Resource Center, n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2011.