Preventing Asthma Attacks in the Home: 7 Things You Can D

Asthma is very common among children, teens and adults. It is a disease that causes the airways of the lungs to tighten.

An asthma attack is when your lungs aren’t getting enough air to breathe. Your child might be having an asthma attack if he or she has:

Trouble breathing



Chest pain

Chest tightness

What causes Asthma Attacks?

Things that cause asthma attacks are called triggers. Triggers are everywhere.

Any home can be full of triggers like mold, dust mites secondhand smoke, cockroaches, cats and dogs.

So how can these triggers be controlled? The following are 7 tips on how to control triggers in your home to prevent asthma attacks


Mold grows on damp things such as shower curtains, bath items, tubs, basins and tiles.

What you can do?

If you see mold, clean it up with soap and water.

Use exhaust fans or open a window in the bathroom when showering and the kitchen when cooking or washing dishes.

Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water as soon as possible.

Dry damp or wet items within 1-2 days to avoid mold growth.

Dust Mites

Dust mites are tiny bugs you can’t see. They live in sheets, blankets, pillows, mattresses, soft furniture, carpets, and stuffed toys, such as stuffed animals.

What you can do?

Wash bed sheets and blankets once a week. Dry completely.

Use dust-proof covers on pillows and mattresses.

Vacuum carpets, rugs and furniture often.

Wash stuffed toys. Dry completely.

Secondhand Smoke

Asthma can be triggered by the smoke from the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, or the smoke breathed out by a smoker. Choose not to smoke in your home or car, and don’t allow others to do so either.

What you can do?

Don’t smoke in your home or car.

Don’t let anyone smoke near your child.

Pledge to make your home and car smoke-free


Cockroach body parts and droppings may trigger asthma attacks.

What you can do?

Keep counters, sinks, tables, and floors clean.

Clean dishes, crumbs, and spills.

Store food in air tight containers.

Cover trash cans.

Cats and Dogs

A warm-blooded animal’s urine and saliva may also trigger attacks.

What you can do?

Keep pets outside if possible.

If you have a pet inside, keep them out of the bedroom and off the furniture.

Vacuum carpets and furniture often.

Nitrogen Dioxide

Nitrogen dioxide is an odorless gas that can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat and may cause shortness of breath. This gas can come from the use of appliances that burn fuels, such as gas, wood, and kerosene.

What you can do?

If possible, use fuel-burning appliances that are vented outside. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use these appliances.

Gas cooking stoves: Never use these to keep you warm or heat your house. If you have an exhaust fan, use it when you cook.

Unvented kerosene or gas space heaters: Use the proper fuel and keep the heater adjusted the right way. Open a window slightly or use an exhaust fan.

Wood stoves: Make sure the doors are tight fitting. Follow the maker’s instructions for starting, burning, and putting out the fire.

Fireplaces: Always open the flue.

Chemical Irritants

Chemical irritants found in some products in your house, such as scented or unscented products, including cleaners, paints, adhesives, pesticides, cosmetics, or air fresheners, may make your child’s asthma worse.

What you can do?

Use these products less often and make sure your child is not around when you use the products. Also, consider trying different products. Take great care to follow the instructions on the label. If you use these products, try to make sure that windows or doors are open and that you use an exhaust fan.

For more information on how to prevent asthma in the home, please visit


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