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EPA Promotes Asthma Awareness Month Agency aims to help families recognize and prevent asthma triggers

Release Date: 05/04/2010
Contact Information: Dave Ryan (News Media Only) Ryan.dave@epa.gov 202-564-7827 202-564-4355 En español: Lina Younes younes.lina@epa.gov 202-564-9924 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON -- Today is World Asthma Day and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is kicking off its efforts to help promote May as Asthma Awareness Month. EPA is offering communities free outreach materials and event planning kits to encourage them to hold health fairs, free asthma screenings, school-based programs and other activities to raise awareness of the importance of proper asthma care. Asthma is a serious, potentially life-threatening respiratory disease that affects the quality of life for 23 million Americans, including 7 million children. One of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s priorities is improving air quality, which has a substantial impact on people who suffer from asthma.

“Asthma is a public health issue, an economic issue, and an environmental issue that touches entire communities,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Gina McCarthy. “EPA is joining with health care providers to reach communities across the nation to help deliver real solutions to the millions of Americans who battle asthma.”

EPA’s Communities in Action for Asthma-Friendly Environments program aims to mobilize and equip 1,000 communities to lead the nation in the delivery of quality asthma care using innovative tools and technical assistance to drive best practices and improvement in asthma care. Community-based programs participating with EPA are achieving some of the best asthma results in the nation, reducing asthma episodes, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations by 50-80 percent. In addition, EPA’s clean air regulations have dramatically improved air quality, resulting in better protection for people living with asthma.

As part of Asthma Awareness Month, EPA recommends these top five top 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. Ozone and particle pollution can cause asthma attacks. People should watch for the Air Quality Index (AQI) during their local weather report. When AQI reports unhealthy levels, they should limit outdoor activities.
· Dust mites are also triggers for asthma. For mite control, people should cover mattresses and pillows with allergen proof covers. They should wash sheets and blankets once a week in hot water.
· Stake your claim. Household pets can 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.

Find Asthma Awareness Events near you: http://www.epa.gov/asthma/awm/index.html


Read about award-winning community-based asthma programs: http://www.epa.gov/asthma/awards.html


More information on EPA’s asthma program: http://www.epa.gov/asthma