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EPA Promotes Asthma Awareness Month

Release Date: 05/02/2013
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith smith.bonnie@epa.gov 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA (May 2, 2013) - May is Asthma Awareness Month and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mid-Atlantic region is joining other public and private agencies across the United States in observing May 7th as World Asthma Day by raising awareness to this growing epidemic.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects approximately seven million children aged 0-17 in the U.S. The exact cause of asthma is unknown and there is no current cure, but asthma can be controlled and managed. Currently asthma disproportionately affects minority children and families from lower social-economic status. The disparities of the disease among race and ethnicity may be related to social determinates, lack of access to health care and exposure to environmental triggers.

EPA provides guidance and resources to reduce indoor air triggers such as dust mites, mold, pets, pet dander, and secondhand smoke in homes and schools. As part of Asthma Awareness Month, EPA recommends these top five steps people can take to help prevent asthma attacks:

      · Take it outside. One of the most common asthma triggers in the home is second hand smoke. Until they can quit, people should smoke outside, not in their home or car.
      · Play it safe. Ground-level Ozone and particle pollution can cause asthma attacks. People should check the Air Quality Index during the summer to view reports of unhealthy levels.
      · Take care. Dust mites are also triggers for asthma. For dust mite control, cover mattresses and pillows with allergen proof covers and wash sheets and blankets once a week in hot water.
      · Be aware of your pets. Household pets can also trigger asthma. People should keep pets out of the bedroom and off furniture.
      · Break the mold. Mold is another asthma trigger. The key to controlling mold is controlling moisture. People should wash and dry hard surfaces to prevent and remove mold, and should replace moldy ceiling tiles and carpet.
    For additional information, including statistics about asthma in your state, visit EPA’s website at http://www.epa.gov/reg3artd/asthma/asthma.htm and for additional resources and publications visit http://www.epa.gov/asthma/publications.html