What You Can Do To Prevent Asthma

by Joe Hubbard and Jennah Durant, Environmental Protection Agency

It’s hard to see a child sick. The good news is you can help a child gain control over asthma. That means fewer days out of school and fewer attacks that can be scary for you and the child.

May is Asthma Awareness Month, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is joining other public and private agencies across the United States in fighting asthma—a growing epidemic.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects approximately seven million children. The exact cause of asthma is unknown and there is no current cure, but asthma can be controlled and managed. Currently asthma disproportionately affects minority children and families from lower social-economic status.

EPA provides guidance and resources to reduce indoor air triggers such as dust mites, mold, pets, pet dander, and secondhand smoke in homes and schools. As part of Asthma Awareness Month, EPA recommends these top five steps people can take to help prevent asthma attacks:

Take it outside: One of the most common asthma triggers in the home is second hand smoke. Until they can quit, people should smoke outside, not in their home or car.

Play it safe: Ground-level ozone and particle pollution can cause asthma attacks. People should check the Air Quality Index during the summer to view reports of unhealthy levels.

Take care: Dust mites are also triggers for asthma. For dust mite control, cover mattresses and pillows with allergen proof covers and wash sheets and blankets once a week in hot water.

Check pets: Household pets can also trigger asthma. People should keep pets out of the bedroom and off furniture.

Break the mold: Mold is another asthma trigger. The key to controlling mold is controlling moisture. People should wash and dry hard surfaces to prevent and remove mold, and should replace moldy ceiling tiles and carpet.

For additional information, including statistics about asthma in your state, visit: http://www.epa.gov/asthma/publications.html

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