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Managing Your Home to Control Asthma


Did You Know...?


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  • Over 20 million people in the United States suffer from asthma?

  • Over 6.3 million children under 18 report having asthma?

  • There were 75% more cases of asthma in 1994 than in 1980?

  • Asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalization in the United States?
What is It?

Asthma is a lung disease. It causes people to wheeze, cough, be short of breath and sometimes even die. People with asthma can suffer from frequent periods of difficulty breathing called “asthma attacks.” During an attack, the airways swell, the muscles around them tighten, and the airways produce thick yellow mucous.

Asthma is not contagious, but it does run in families, so if parents have asthma, their children are more likely to have it, too. Children, particularly those living in urban areas and crowded or unclean conditions are especially at risk for developing asthma. And, "African-American children living in low-income families tend to have more severe asthma and are at greater risk of death," says the Centers for Disease Control.

Each person is different, but many things (called asthma “triggers”) can cause asthma attacks. These can be found both outdoors and indoors and include:
  • Cold weather

  • Pollen

  • Exercise

  • Stress

  • Dust and dust mites

  • Cockroaches

  • Mold

  • Pet dander (skin flakes)

  • Rodents

  • Tobacco smoke

  • Air fresheners
What can you do?

Because there is no cure for asthma, it is most important to work on preventing attacks. There are three major categories of prevention:
Keep a Clean Home
  • Make sure that your home is free of dust, mold, smoke and other potential triggers.

  • Vacuum often—HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Air) filters remove dust best.

  • Keep foods stored in tightly sealed containers to avoid attracting cockroaches and rodents.

  • Clear crumbs, drips, spills and dirty dishes immediately.

  • Identify and quickly fix water leaks in your home.
  • Use zippered “allergen resistant” mattress and pillow covers to keep dust mites out of sleeping spaces.

  • Keep pets outdoors or away from sleeping areas; clear hairs from carpets and furniture.

  • Quit smoking, or smoke only outside your home and car. Always keep tobacco smoke away from children.

  • Change bed sheets often.

  • Keep people with asthma out of a room while vacuuming or dusting.

Follow the Doctor’s Instructions


  • Get medical attention for breathing problems.

  • Get emergency medical care for bad attacks of shortness of breath or wheezing.

  • Take all prescribed medication, either to prevent attacks or to lessen the symptoms.

  • Find out what allergies you have so you can avoid these potential asthma triggers.



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Managing Your Home to Control Asthma:  Created on February 17th, 2007.  Last Modified on October 16th, 2009


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