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Asthma in Homes

Asthma is a chronic disease that increases the lung passage sensitivity to many kinds of substances.  These substances are called ‘triggers’ when they cause a reaction in the lung passages.  Although triggers can occur in any environment, many occur in the home where people spend a large amount of their time. 

As a society we spend about 95 percent of our time inside buildings.  The indoor air can contain many things that trigger an asthma episode of coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath. 

Some of the most common triggers are:

  • Dust and dust mites
  • Pests – cockroaches and rodents
  • Pets – cats, dogs, rodents
  • Second-hand smoke
  • Mold, mildew
  • Nitrogen dioxide – from burning fuels
  • Volatile organic chemicals – VOC’s – odors and gases from a wide variety of substances
    • Perfumes
    • Household cleaners
    • Paints and varnishes
    • Candles
    • Room deodorizers
    • Glues

There are a number of helpful tools on managing asthma at home.  They include:

  • EPA's Asthma Home Environmental Checklist– helpful in identifying and controlling triggers
  • EPA's Dusty the Asthma Gold Fish in English and Spanish – a fun book for children
  • EPA's Clear Your Home of Asthma Triggers – a quick guide to trigger management
  • EPA's Secondhand Tobacco Smoke and the Health of Your Family – an English and a Spanish side
  • CDC's Help Your Child Gain Control Over Asthma – a comprehensive booklet on medication and trigger management for the family
  • Insurance Navigator Information - An individual or organization that is trained and able to help consumers and small businesses and their employees, as they look for health coverage options through the Marketplace, including completing eligibility and enrollment forms. Facts about insurance navigators
  • National Center for Healthy Housing's Pediatric Environmental Assessment (PEHA) - is a three-page form you use to collect information about the home environment to identify asthma triggers and related issues.
  • National Center for Healthy Housing's Nursing Care Plan - This companion piece to the PEHA is a seven-page form to help you effectively respond to problems identified in the survey.  The PEHA Nursing Care Plan serves as a checklist for you when you identify a potential problem on the PEHA Survey.  For every potential problem (identified in bold typeface) on the PEHA Survey, you will find recommended action steps on the PEHA Nursing Care Plan.

Last reviewed: 11/30/15