May Is Asthma Awareness Month
Each May, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) kicks off its efforts to promote Asthma Awareness Month. Asthma is a serious, potentially life-threatening respiratory disease that affects the quality of life for 23 million Americans, including 7 million children. EPA's goal is to reduce exposure to indoor asthma triggers and improve the quality of life for 6.5 million people by 2012.
As part of Asthma Awareness Month, EPA recommends communities take action on indoor and outdoor environmental factors that can trigger asthma attacks, including dust mites, molds, cockroaches, pet dander, and secondhand smoke. Encourage your residents to take steps in their units to prevent asthma attacks, such as:
Take the smoke outside. One of the most common asthma triggers in the home is secondhand smoke. Until they can quit, people should smoke outside, not in their home or car.
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.
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.
HUD is also focusing on making low-income housing safer and healthier for asthmatic children through grants to conduct research on the cost effectiveness of home-based interventions for children with asthma.
“Asthma is now recognized as a leading cause of school and work absences, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations that disproportionately impact low-income, minority populations,” said Jon Gant, director of HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control. Nationally, HUD provided a total of $7.8 million in grants to 14 projects in nine states to protect children from exposure to lead and other home health hazards.
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