Four Silent, Possibly Deadly Asthma Triggers in Indiana

Many household items and environmental changes may seem harmless, but could prove deadly to a person with asthma. The American Lung Association in Indiana would like to raise awareness of asthma triggers during May, which is Asthma Awareness Month.

In Indiana, more than 600,000 people suffer from asthma; a chronic lung disease that makes breathing difficult. With every breath, air passes through the nose, down the throat, into the lung and into branching tubes called airways.  With asthma, those airways are often swollen and red – also known as inflamed.  When an asthma trigger – anything from a change in temperature to dust, chemicals and smoke in the air – reaches those inflamed airways, extra mucus is created, the airways swell and muscles around the airways tighten, all making it even harder to breathe. 

There are more than 3,500 asthma-related deaths per year, and reducing your exposure to asthma triggers can keep you safe. Some silent asthma triggers in Indiana, which could result to a trip to the emergency room or even death, include:

  1. Household Cleaning Products: Scents from perfumes, deodorants and cleaning supplies can affect a person with asthma. When possible, choose cleaning and personal care products that are odor- and fragrance-free.
  2. Air Pollution: Ozone pollution and particle pollution are two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants. Breathing these pollutants can cause asthma attacks, as well as respiratory and cardiovascular harm, and even early death. In the Lung Association’s recent State of the Air report, Indianapolis’ ozone has worsened and so has its particle pollution. Indianapolis is now ranked as the 54th most polluted city in the country and 13th for most year-round particle pollution.
  3. Nearly Invisible Dust Mites: Pests in the home, workplace or school can impact your asthma. To reduce your exposure, wash bedding regularly, fix leaks, store garbage outside, vacuum and dust weekly. You can also use allergen-proof pillow and mattress covers.
  4. Bunnies: As well as cats, dogs, hamsters, mice and other furry friends. Dander and saliva from animals with fur or feathers can be an allergen for some and can cause asthma symptoms. Reduce your exposure to pet allergens by vacuuming and damp dusting weekly. Try to keep your pets out of the bedroom or other rooms where you spend a lot of time.

Triggers can be found indoors and outdoors and some are harder to avoid than others. So how can you reduce symptoms and live an active life with asthma? Increase your asthma awareness and knowledge by visiting and taking the Lung Association’s free online learning course.  A self-paced learning tool, Asthma Basics covers asthma triggers and how to identify and reduce them, action plans when flare-ups do happen, how to respond to a breathing emergency, asthma medication tutorials and an asthma management plan template.  This online course is ideal for everyone from healthcare professionals and school nurses to parents, those suffering from asthma themselves and even co-workers and friends. 

“Even if you don’t suffer from asthma symptoms yourself, you can learn to support those in your life and community who do,” said Jill Heins, regional senior director for lung health at the Lung Association. “Asthma Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity to take the Asthma Basics course, it may just help save a life.”

More asthma information and resources can also be accessed through the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA. 

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