Presentation on theme: "Controlling Asthma and Allergy Triggers in Your Home"— Presentation transcript:
1Controlling Asthma and Allergy Triggers in Your Home Let’s Clear the AirControlling Asthma and Allergy Triggers in Your Home
2Topics Covered What is asthma? Who is most at risk to get asthma? The presentation will include general information on asthma, as well as more specific information about how our indoor environments relate to asthma. The audience will come away with easy, effective ways for people to avoid asthma triggers indoors.What is asthma?Who is most at risk to get asthma?What does the indoor environment have to do with asthma?How can you reduce exposure to indoor asthma triggers?
3What is Asthma? A chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways It is treatable, but not yet curableIt is not the same as allergies, but allergies MAY cause asthmaNot contagiousCan be life-threatening!Asthma is a lung disease. It may cause people to wheeze, cough, become short of breath, and can cause death. It is treatable, but not curable. Allergies can cause asthma. It is not contagious but it can run in families.Chronic means long-term or having many episodesIt is manageable
4Asthma FactsAbout 17 million Americans have asthma, including about 7 Million children It is the most common chronic childhood disease.1 out of every 10 North Carolina children has asthmaAsthma causes more hospital stays than any other childhood diseaseCost of lost workdays of parents with asthmatic children is near $1 billionIt is a leading cause of school absencesEstimates actually are anywhere between million people, including 7 million children have asthma1 out of every 10 NC children have asthmaIt causes more hospital stays than any other childhood disease13 million school days are missed each year in US due to asthma-- nearly 17 million physician office and hospital visits (in US) and nearly 2 million emergency room visits (in US)Cost of lost work days is near 1 billion – add the cost of expenditures for health and that number is closer to $20 billion each year
5Who is most at risk to suffer from asthma? ChildrenLow-income, urban residentsSome minoritiesAllergic individualsPeople with hereditary disposition for asthma (genetics)ChildrenLow-income and urban residentsMinorities – African Americans have higher rates of asthma emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths than do Caucasians; approximately 2 million Hispanics in US have asthma and Puerto Ricans are disproportionately impactedAllergic Individuals – million people have allergies. Allergies can also make it hard for people to breathe by causing an asthma attack. An allergy is an unusual reaction to something (food or plant) that is normally harmless.
6What happens during an asthma episode? Airways narrow, caused by:tightening of the muscles that surround the airwaysswelling of the inner liningincrease in mucous productionAirways are the passages that carry air to the lungsThese airways become smaller and smaller as they progress into the lungsAn asthma episode is caused by the narrowing of airwaysDuring an asthma episode the breathing tubes/airways in your lungs swell, the muscles around these tubes then tighten. The tubes make large amounts of a thick fluid called mucus.
7Warning Signs of Asthma Coughing (especially when it is not a cold)Wheezing (a squeaking sound when breathing)Fast breathingPoor skin colorShortness of breathHunched over postureRestless during sleepFatigueSpace between the ribs may sink in when breathingAnxietyVomitingWarning sings of an asthma episode may include tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing. People with asthma who learn to spot the early signs of an episode can take their needed medicine right away – hopefully lessening the severity of the attack.Even when a person is not coughing or wheezing, the lining of the airways can become inflamed and this also requires medical treatment
8Warning Signs of Asthma Strained breathingProminent neck musclesOut of breath after physical activityIMPORTANT: These symptoms don’t necessarily mean it is asthmaAdditional signs of an asthma episode.
9Asthma can be controlled! There are excellent medicines available now that can control asthma--some must be taken on a daily basisEnvironmental “triggers” of asthma--which are different for everyone--can be controlled to reduce asthma symptomsThere are other triggers, including exercise, respiratory issues, cold weatherOur focus today is on Environmental Triggers
11Other asthma triggers Viral respiratory infections Exercise coldsfluoften worse at night after lying downExerciseChanges in weathercold airwindhumidity
12Indoor Air Pollution: A Major Health Concern Most people spend 90% of their time indoorsToxin levels indoors may be higher than outdoors because of energy tight buildingsMost of the common asthma triggers are found indoors
135 Most Common Indoor Environmental Triggers Secondhand SmokeDust MitesMoldPetsCockroaches
15Recognize asthma triggers to control indoor air Not all triggers affect every person3 Basic Strategies to improve indoor air quality:identify the problemcontrol the sourcemitigation--get rid of the pollutant or triggering substance
16Pollen Transported by wind Grass, ragweed, pine, birch, oak trees Can get indoors during pollen seasonClose windows during pollen seasonCaulk and weather-strip doors and windows
17Secondhand SmokeContains more than 4,000 substances (over 40 are carcinogenic)Is particularly harmful to young childrenCan trigger asthma attacksCauses coughing, excess phlegm, reduced lung capacity and other lung irritationParticles such as nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide may cause decreased lung functionIncreased risk of respiratory tract infections (bronchitis, pneumonia)Not only tobacco smoke--also caused by burning wood, candles, coal, kerosene, natural gasAvoid Second Hand Smoke by:Do not allow smoking indoors or in vehiclesLimit use of fireplaces and candlesExhaust fan over gas stovesSmoke particles stick to clothing--can affect young child when held in arms
18Dust Mites Too small to be seen Found almost everywhere! Live in soft beddingFeed on dead skin cellsMites and mite droppings can be asthma triggersLive in warm, humid places
19Avoiding Dust Mite Triggers Wash sheets and blankets once a week in very HOT water (130 F)Use air conditioner in summer to lower humidity levelsRemove carpets if possibleDamp clean hard surfacesVacuum often with HEPA vacuum or microfiltration bagsLow indoor humidity-between 30-50%
20Avoiding Dust Mite Triggers Cover mattresses and pillows in dust-proof (allergen- impermeable) zippered coversVacuum mattress, chairs and carpetingReplace pillows every 5 years
21Pets/AnimalsSkin flakes, urine, and saliva of warm blooded animals can be asthma triggersTriggers can remain inside for several months after an animal is removed, even with cleaning
22Molds A type of fungus Grow on damp surfaces Molds grow by releasing sporesGrow on organic materials: wood, drywall, wallpaper, carpet, foods
23Avoiding Mold Triggers Mold problems are caused by excess moistureCorrect the moisture problem first!Maintain low indoor humidity (between 30-50%)Warm air holds more water than cold airFix leaky plumbingEmpty and regularly clean refrigerator drip pans
24Avoiding Mold Triggers Run a bathroom fan during bathingExhaust the dryer to the outdoorsControl moisture in the crawlspaceReplace carpet with hard- surface floors in basementUse air conditioner to lower humidityDon’t need to test for mold-- if you see it or smell it—then you have moldClean up small areas with a bleach solution--1/2 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of waterLimit houseplants--since soil/leaves contain mold--at least in bedroomsClean when children are not present
25Pests (especially Cockroaches) Many people are allergic to the body parts and droppings of cockroachesPeople who have dust allergies frequently have cockroach allergies
26Avoiding Pests 3 steps to avoid pests indoors: PreventionIdentificationControlGet rid of places for pests to hide and sources of food and waterreduce clutter (boxes, stacks of newspapers, grocery bags)do not leave food or garbage outclean up food spills and crumbscaulk cracks and crevicesMake sure you identify the pest before using pesticidesUse less toxic baits, boric acid or traps first--before using toxic pesticidesIf you use sprays:Limit spray to infested areaVentilate room--sprays may be a trigger for asthma or cause lung irritation
27Air Cleaners and Filters Use Air Cleaners only as a last resortHEPA filters (High Efficiency Particle Air)Do not use air cleaning devices that produce ozoneKnow the size of the room to be treated before purchasing the unitKeep filters changed or cleaned frequentlySome gases and very small particles are difficult to removeOzone exposure Potential risk of experiencing:Decreases in lung functionAggravation of asthmaThroat irritation and coughChest pain and shortness of breathInflammation of lung tissueHigher susceptibility to respiratory infection
28Actions to Control Asthma in the Home Control the environment to prevent triggers: dust, pests, mold, secondhand smoke, strong odors and cleaning solvents
29For More Information and Credits The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)The American Lung Association1-800-LUNG-USAThanks to the Healthy Indoor Air for America’s Homes project for photos and background information:This presentation is adapted from one developed byLaura Booth, Auburn University