Preventive Measures

Steps to reduce chances of aggravating asthmatic symptoms in sufferers may be easier than you think. The following information will help reduce the odds of having an asthma attack, or at a minimum, aid in the asthma attack being less severe.

Reduce Exposure to House Dust Mites

  • Wash bed linens weekly in hot water (water must be hotter than 130F).
  • Pillows and bedding should not contain feathers.
  • Use dust proof covers on mattress and pillows.
  • Keep stuffed toys off bed.
  • Limit stuffed toys to those that can be washed.
  • Wash stuffed animals in hot water (water must be hotter than 130F).
  • Vacuum often, especially if floors are carpeted.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with either a double-layered microfilter bag or a HEPA filter.
  • Non-washable bedding and stuffed toys in freezer to eliminate dust mites.
  • Damp dust, not dry dust.
  • Reduce general clutter.
  • Keep humidity levels low.
  • Consider removing carpet, especially in bedrooms.
  • Use washable rugs and pillows in living room.
  • Wash window coverings in hot water.

Air Pollution (Indoor and Outdoor)


  • Increasing the amount of fresh air into your home helps reduce pollutants inside.
  • Fans that exhaust to the outdoors increase ventilation and help remove pollutants.
  • Use HEPA filters to keep air free of dust and allergens.
  • Change or clean your HVAC filters regularly.
  • Avoid wood smoke.
  • Ventilate rooms where fuel-burning appliances are used.


  • Keep windows and doors shut during pollen season.
  • Avoid wood smoke.
  • Two key air pollutants can affect asthma, ozone and particulate matter (particle pollution).
  • Limit outdoor activities on bad air quality days (ozone and particulate matter levels are high).
  • Sign up for air quality alerts at

Reduce Exposure to Second-hand Tobacco Smoke

  • Home and vehicle should be completely smoke-free.
  • Avoid public areas that allow smoking.
  • If you are a smoker, do not smoke around individuals with asthma.
  • Smokers should be encouraged to smoke outside.
  • Tobacco smoke residues stay on clothes, hair, and skin. Wash your face, hands, and clothes (or change clothes) before contact with individuals who have asthma.
  • Smokers that want to quit should visit the Alabama Tobacco Quitline at

Reduce Exposure to Pests (Cockroaches and Rodents)

  • Remove as many water and food sources as possible to eliminate cockroaches.
  • Store food in sealed containers.
  • Fix plumbing leaks.
  • Remove cardboard boxes and paper bags.
  • Wash dishes promptly.
  • Reduce general clutter.
  • Clean up any cockroach waste.
  • Take trash out daily if you have a heavy pest problem.
  • Use covered trash cans.
  • Seal cracks and holes that can be an indoor hiding place for pests.
  • Keep humidity and moisture low.
  • If these chemical free solutions do not work try poison baits and traps first.
  • Use sprays and foggers as a last resort and use sparingly.
  • Learn more about how to choose a pest control company.

Reduce Exposure to Pets

  • People who are allergic to pets should not have them in the house.
  • At a minimum, do not allow pets in the bedroom.
  • Keep pets off upholstered furniture.
  • It can take 6 months of regular cleaning to remove pet dander after pet is removed from the home.

Reduce Exposure to Mold

  • Dry all wet areas within 24 to 48 hours.
  • Fix water leaks, which allow mold to grow behind walls and under floors.
  • Run the bathroom fan or open a window when taking a shower.
  • Reduce the humidity level in the home.
  • Clean out dehumidifiers daily.
  • Keep plants out of the bedroom.
  • If mold is present: discard wet materials (examples: ceiling tiles, sheet rock, carpet) and clean with hot water and non-ammonia soap. Bleach is not needed unless there is sewage contamination.
  • You may need a contractor if there is a large area of mold contamination.
  • For more information, visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Products with Odors

  • Avoid using aerosol sprays, paint, and cleaning products with heavy odors.
  • Remove scented consumer products (pesticides, air fresheners, and cosmetics).
  • Use non-scented green cleaning products.
  • Pour cleaner directly onto a cloth or paper towel instead of spraying it.
  • Do not use highly scented products (perfumes or scented lotions) that may irritate your lungs.

Page last updated: April 9, 2017