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Asthma Awareness
Healthy Living Program

asthma_385x261.jpgAsthma is a lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. Airways that carry air in and out of the lungs become swollen and tight. People who are having an asthma attack often cough, wheeze and feel that they need to catch their breath.

More than 22 million Americans currently have asthma. You probably know someone who suffers from this chronic disease.  It could be a family member, a young child, a co-worker, a neighbor or maybe even you.

Talk to a doctor if you or someone in your family has trouble breathing. The cause of asthma is not known, and there is no cure. A serious asthma attack can even result in death.

Environmental Asthma Triggers
Asthma triggers are chemicals or allergens that make you have an asthma attack. Strong chemical smells, dust or pets can also trigger an asthma attack. Your asthma triggers may be very different than other people with asthma. Not all asthma triggers affect people the same way.

Environmental asthma triggers can be found both indoors and outdoors.  Use the following tips to help you and your family avoid asthma triggers.

j0439278.jpgIndoor Asthma Triggers

Environmental Chemicals and Pollutants
bullet2.jpgStrong smelling household cleaners or any product with a strong odor like paint, perfume, hairspray, air fresheners, bug- sprays, moth balls, bombs or foggers.
bullet2.jpgThe fumes from your car when idling in the garage or near your house or apartment. Idling is leaving your car engine on when the car is not moving.
bullet2.jpgVapors and or fumes/odors from gas, oil or kerosene stoves.
What you can do:
bullet2.jpg Open a window when you use household cleaners or cook to allow fresh air into the house or apartment.
bullet2.jpg Do not stay in the area of a car that is idling.
bullet2.jpg Vent furnaces, electrical ranges, space heaters, gas, wood and coal stoves to the outside.

Secondhand Smoke
Smoke from a burning cigarette, pipe, cigar, etc.
What you can do:
bullet2.jpg If you smoke, quit.
bullet2.jpg If you do not smoke, avoid places where other people smoke.

j0178656.jpgPets and Bugs
bullet2.jpg Dander from birds, cats, dogs, gerbils, rats and mice can remain in the house or apartment dust long after the animal has left.
bullet2.jpg Cockroach droppings can also affect asthma.
What you can do:
bullet2.jpg Keep pets away from fabric-covered furniture (especially your bed), carpets and stuffed toys.
bullet2.jpgWash your hands, face and arms after playing with your pet.

Molds live in warm, moist places such as basements, kitchens, bathrooms, under old carpets, ceiling tiles or any place that collects water.
What you can do:
Prevent mold by repairing leaks and moisture areas.
bullet2.jpg Wash all surfaces with vinegar (do not use bleach as it can trigger an asthma attack).
bullet2.jpg Repair moldy ceiling tiles and carpets to keep mold away.

Household Dust Mites
Dust mites are tiny insects that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Dust mites can be found in any fabric covered item in your home
(mattresses, sofas, clothes, stuffed toys, carpets).

What you can do:
bullet2.jpg Frequently wash bed sheets, pillowcases and blankets in hot water.
bullet2.jpgWear a mask when vacuuming and replace vacuum bags often. Use dust mite cover on your pillows and mattress.

j0402479.jpgSome Outdoor Asthma Triggers
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Ozone (O3) and Dust
bullet2.jpg Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) is a common air pollutant that results from coal and oil- burning power plants.
bullet2.jpg Ozone, also known as smog, is one of the most common air pollutants that can trigger asthma attacks.
bullet2.jpg Dust is made up of solids (e.g., street sand from construction work, paint chips, smoke) or liquids (vehicle exhaust, etc.)
Action Steps:
Controlling outdoor triggers can be difficult. Here are some steps to reduce your exposure.
bullet2.jpg Consider staying indoors when ozone or other pollutant levels are high.
bullet2.jpg Pay attention to air pollution warnings in local newspapers, online, or on television and radio.
bullet2.jpg Close windows and use air conditioning.
bullet2.jpg Limit outdoor activities to early in the morning or later in the evening.
bullet2.jpgConsider removing your shoes at the door.

More Information

Phone: 800-499-LUNG
Fax: 781-890-4280
New England Chapter
Tel: 791-444-7778
toll free: 1-877-2-ASTHMA
Fax: 781-444-7718
Center for Environmental Health, Bureau of Environmental Health Assessment
250 Washington Street, 7th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Asthma No Attacks Hotline
Tel: 1-866-662-8822

Town of West Boylston 140 Worcester Street, West Boylston, MA 01583
Phone: 774-261-4010
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