Asthma

  • Alternative Names

    Bronchial asthma; Exercise-induced asthma


    Prevention

    You can reduce asthma symptoms by avoiding known triggers and substances that irritate the airways.

    • Cover bedding with "allergy-proof" casings to reduce exposure to dust mites.
    • Remove carpets from bedrooms and vacuum regularly.
    • Use only unscented detergents and cleaning materials in the home.
    • Keep humidity levels low and fix leaks to reduce the growth of organisms such as mold.
    • Keep the house clean and keep food in containers and out of bedrooms -- this helps reduce the possibility of cockroaches, which can trigger asthma attacks in some people.
    • If a person is allergic to an animal that cannot be removed from the home, the animal should be kept out of the bedroom. Place filtering material over the heating outlets to trap animal dander.
    • Eliminate tobacco smoke from the home. This is the single most important thing a family can do to help a child with asthma. Smoking outside the house is not enough. Family members and visitors who smoke outside carry smoke residue inside on their clothes and hair -- this can trigger asthma symptoms.

    Persons with asthma should also avoid air pollution, industrial dusts, and other irritating fumes as much as possible.


    References

    Lugogo N, Que LG, Fertel D, Kraft M. Asthma. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus VC, Martin TR, et al. Murray & Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 38.

    Brozek JL, Bousquet J, Baena-Cagnani CE, Bonini S, Canonica GW, Casale TB, et al. Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) guidelines: 2010 revision. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Sep;126(3):466-76.

    National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. Rockville, MD. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2007. NIH publication 08-4051.

    Wechsler ME. Managing asthma in primary care: putting new guideline recommendations into context. Mayo Clin Proc. 2009;84:707-717.

    Fanta CH. Asthma. N Engl J Med. 2009;360:1002-1014.