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What is Asthma

Asthma is a serious, sometimes life-threatening chronic respiratory disease that affects the quality of life for almost 25 million Americans, including an estimated 7 million children. Although there is no cure for asthma yet, asthma can be controlled through medical treatment and management of environmental triggers. EPA is committed to educating all Americans about asthma so that everyone knows what asthma is, how the environment can affect asthma patients and how to manage environmental asthma triggers.

Asthma Triggers

"What is Asthma?"

graphic of What is Asthma

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Learn more about asthma from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's "What Is Asthma?"
Listen to the CDC's PSA "Asthma - What You Need to Know"

Learn more about factors found in the indoor and outdoor environment that can cause, trigger or exacerbate asthma symptoms and what you can do to reduce their impact. You might be surprised by the list of common environmental asthma triggers and how simple it can be to eliminate them from your environment.

Preventing Asthma Attacks

Step 1 - Talk to a doctor

Talk to a doctor about your child's asthma. If your child has asthma or if you think your child may have asthma, take your child to a doctor. Your doctor will work with you to keep your child from having asthma attacks.

  • Learn what triggers your child's asthma attacks.
  • Identify asthma triggers in your home.
  • Talk about ways to get rid of triggers in your home.
  • Find out what medicine your child should take.
Step 2 - Make a Plan

Ask your doctor to help you create your child's Asthma Action Plan. Work with your doctor to create an Asthma Action Plan that will help you learn to prevent your child's asthma attacks.

An Asthma Action Plan will help you control your child's asthma on a regular basis. "Use this plan together with your doctor to write down how to manage your asthma; routinely on a daily basis and during an attack. Look on the back for a list of possible asthma triggers and ways to avoid them."

Step 3 - Asthma-Proof Your Home

Triggers are a part of everyday life. Asthma attacks can be triggered by things like mold growing on your shower curtain or tiny dust mites that live in blankets, pillows, or your child's stuffed animals. Learn more about things that might trigger an asthma attack and what you can do to get rid of them and help your child stay healthy.

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EPA's Communities in Action Asthma Initiative

EPA's Communities in Action Asthma Initiative is a coordinated effort to reduce the burden of asthma and includes programs to address indoor and outdoor environments that cause, trigger or exacerbate asthma symptoms. These programs help improve the quality of life for millions of Americans living with asthma. Read the Background on EPA's Asthma Program - Press Kit PDF (3 pp., 238 K)

Visit the AIRnow.gov website

EPA's AirNow.gov is a website that monitors outdoor air quality and informs the public of health risks from outdoor air pollution.

Visit the NoAttacks.org website

The Partner website NoAttacks.org exiting EPA provides information to help children with asthma and their families manage environmental asthma triggers in and around their homes.

Visite www.noattacks.org/es Salida y denegaci�n Para hacer un plan de acción de asma, recibir consejos sobre cómo manejar el asma y obtener una copia del popular libro de actividades "Dusty la Carpa Dorada".

Go to the IAQ Tools for Schools program website

EPA's IAQ Tools for Schools Program offers tools and resources to empower school communities to protect children from environmental asthma triggers.

Visit EPA's Aging Intiative website

EPA's Aging Initiative provides resources to help increase public awareness about asthma, with particular focus on the health of children and aging adults.

Visit EPA's Clean Air Research website

EPA's Clean Air Research website offers information on how we conduct and coordinate research to increase scientific knowledge about asthma and ways to manage environmental factors that cause asthma and trigger asthma attacks.

graphic of cover of ten steps factsheet

Implementing An Asthma Home Visit Program: 10 Steps to Help Health Plans Get Started (PDF) (24 pp., 930 K) provides health care providers and healthcare plan administrators with information, education and resources to incorporate environmental management into clinical practices and standards of care for asthma patients. Use the publication number EPA 402-K-05-006 to order this publication.

screenshot of Asthma Community Network website

AsthmaCommunityNetwork.org exiting EPA supports community-based asthma initiatives to improve asthma health outcomes and help transfer knowledge across community programs.

About Asthma Asthma and Aging Asthma Leadership Award Asthma Awareness Month Asthma in Schools Community-based Programs Health Providers Home Visits Mold Resources Science/Research Triggers Video and Audio Frequent Questions Wood Smoke AirNow Asma Indoor Air

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