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EPA's Region 6 Office

Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations

Asthma Prevention Programs
Indoor Environments Team

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What is Asthma?

Asthma is a disease that causes the airways of the lungs to tighten and swell. It is common among children and teens. About 20 million Americans have asthma, and it is the leading cause of long-term illness in children.

What is an Asthma attack?

An asthma attack occurs when a child's airways get narrow, making it difficult to breathe. Symptoms of asthma include wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing. Asthma can even cause death.

What are some asthma statistics?

  • Asthma leads to 2 million emergency room visits and 5,000 deaths per year in the U.S.
  • Asthma accounted for more than 14 million missed school days in 2000.
  • Asthma costs (health care costs and lost productivity) totaled $14 billion in 2002.

What causes an asthma attack?

Things that cause an asthma attack are called triggers. Many of these triggers are allergens and irritants that are common in homes.

Common asthma triggers include: Exit EPA disclaimer

  • Secondhand Smoke;
  • Dust Mites;
  • Pets;
  • Molds;
  • Pests and Cockroaches; and/or
  • Nitrogen Dioxide.

Where can I find more information?

For more information about asthma prevention, please contact Paula Selzer by phone at (214) 665-6663 or by email

To learn more about indoor environmental asthma triggers, or visit the EPA National Asthma Web Site . The site is designed to provide the latest EPA information about indoor asthma triggers and to guide people to other useful sources of information for effectively managing their asthma. You can also link to EPA information about outdoor environmental triggers to asthma and to important asthma health information from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others.

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