October 13, 2005
Fall allergy season is here and those with asthma might want to think about taking some extra precautions around the house.
"A lot of it is just knowing what you're allergic to first of all," said Tonya Kisner.
About 17 million Americans have asthma. "The truth is people die from asthma, and I think that's all that anyone really needs to know about it," said Kisner. "It is a big deal."
"I think asthma can be very severe and can be very life-threatening," said Lung Specialist Dr. Nirander S. Arora.
Asthma symptoms often include wheezing, shortness of breath, or coughing, and can even cause death.
For that reason experts urge those with asthma or who have kids with asthma to take extra precautions around the house to reduce the risk of triggering an attack.
"The house should be cleaned and you should especially use damp cloth," explained Dr. Arora. "The rugs should not be shaggy rugs, it should be plain. They should be wooden floors, and a small rug in front of the bed. Pillows, bedsheets and covers [should] be changed every 4th to 5th day."
Common asthma triggers include secondhand smoke, dust mites, pets, and molds--all things that if eliminated or kept under control can help those with asthma breathe easier.
"Basically you could not know that you have asthma and then be exposed to an allergen that lets you know that you have asthma in a really drastic way, so you could go from thinking you're a perfectly healthy [individual] in an asthmatic sense, and go directly to being in the hospital," warned Kisner.
For more information about asthma triggers, visit www.epa.gov/iaq or call EPA Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse at (800) 438-4318.