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Take Actions this Summer to Reduce Exposures to Asthma Triggers

Release Date: 06/16/2010
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543, smith.bonnie@epa.govs

PHILADELPHIA (June 16, 2010) - - Now that the summer heat is here it’s a good time to pay attention to your local air quality. Like the weather, air quality can change from day to day or even hour to hour and it can affect how you live and breathe.

When the summer heat builds, ground-level ozone levels increase - - and ground-level ozone, often called smog, is a contributor to the onset or the exacerbation of an asthma attack. Ground-level ozone makes people more sensitive to allergens and asthma triggers such as airborne particles and dust. During the summer hospital admissions and emergency room visits increase do to an increase in asthma related symptoms.

“While EPA’s clean air regulations have improved air quality bringing us all cleaner air,” said Shawn M. Garvin, mid-Atlantic regional administrator. “It’s important for people with asthma, especially children, to know the warning signs of an asthma attack and to take steps they can take to protect themselves.”

Not only can the air outside effect your health, pollutants inside your home and workplace can also be extremely serious for people with asthma. Asthma can be life-threatening, but this respiratory disease can be managed. Asthma sufferers can lead active lives by educating themselves on how the environment can affect them and taking action to reduce or remove asthma triggers.


    In addition to talking with your health care provider, these steps can help prevent asthma attacks:
    Play it safe. Ground-level ozone and particle pollution can exacerbate an asthma attack. Look for the Air Quality Index (AQI) during the local weather report or go to EPA’s website http://www.airnow.gov/. AQI uses a color- coded system to display whether the five major air
    pollutants exceed air quality standards for the day. When AQI reports unhealthy levels, people should limit strenuous outdoor activities, particularly asthmatics and others with respiratory aliments.
    Don’t smoke in the home. Take it outside. One of the most common asthma triggers in the home is second- hand smoke. People should smoke outside - - not inside the home or in the car. Take the smoke-free home pledge; http://www.epa.gov/smokefree.
    Break the mold. Mold is another asthma trigger. The key to controlling mold is controlling moisture. Wash and dry hard surfaces to prevent and remove mold. Remove, and if possible replace, all moldy ceiling tiles or carpet. For more tips see EPA’s website: http://www.epa.gov/asthma/molds.html

    For more information on EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional asthma program and ways to reduce your asthma triggers go to: http://www.epa.gov/reg3artd/asthma/asthma.htm

    You also can join the On-line Community in Action for Asthma-Friendly Environments Network at www.asthmacommunitynetwork.org to learn about community-based organizations with information, resources, and strategies to accelerate improvements in asthma care.