May has been designated Asthma Awareness Month as one important way to help educate the public about this condition that affects millions of people. Asthma has consistently increased over the past decade with more than 4 million additional cases reported.
- One out of every 10 school aged children is affected
- 13 million people have reported having an asthma attack in the last year
Whether you are indoors or outdoors, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce asthma triggers. Dust mites, mold, and cockroaches are a few of the culprits in homes and schools. Recent studies from the CDC and the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health have identified dust mites and cockroach allergens as significant triggers for asthma and that the likelihood of young children developing wheeze, hay fever, and eczema was significantly increased with exposure to cockroach and mouse allergens. Controlling these pests is an important part in creating an allergen and asthma-free environment.
U.S. EPA recommends five steps people can take to help prevent asthma attacks:
- Take it outside. Second hand smoke is one of the most common asthma triggers in the home
- Play it safe. Ozone and particulate pollution can trigger asthma attacks. People should check the Air Quality Index (AQI) to learn if pollution is at unhealthy levels, especially during the summer months.
- Keep it clean. For dust mite control, cover mattresses and pillows and wash sheets and blankets once a week in hot water.
- Stake your claim. Household pets can trigger asthma too. Try to keep them out of the bedroom and off the furniture.
- Break the mold. The key to controlling mold is controlling moisture.
Even if you are not affected by asthma, there’s a good chance that you know someone who is. Help reduce allergens in your own home to make others feel more comfortable and decrease the chance of developing it yourself.
The EPA views asthma as such an important concern that it is hosting a National Asthma Forum in June in Washington, D.C. Visit www.epa.gov/asthma or www.cdc.gov/asthma for other tips and tricks for reducing asthma allergens and preventing attacks.