About Asthma Triggers

Many homes contain hazards, like mold and dustmites, that trigger and exacerbate asthma symptoms. Forty percent of asthma episodes are caused by preventable triggers in the home.1


The Facts

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory lung condition that affects the airways and the way a person breathes. It is a condition that can only be treated, not cured. An average of one out of every 10 school-aged children has asthma.

Asthma afflicts 25.7 million Americans yearly and causes:

  • 2 million emergency room visits2
  • 500,000 hospitalizations3
  • More than $56 billion in economic costs4

The impact of asthma:

  • 14 million school days are missed each year and it is the leading medical cause of school absences for children ages 5 through 75
  • Asthma accounts for about 10.1 million missed work days for adults annually6
  • The 40 percent of asthma episodes that are caused by housing-based triggers represent $5 billion lost annually in preventable medical costs1

    The Risks

    Asthma triggers in the home include:

    • Mold
    • Mice and rats
    • Cockroaches
    • Dust mites
    • Pet hair and dander
    • Tobacco smoke 
    • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and chemical odors

    Steps you can take

    If someone in your home is experiencing chronic coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath, see a doctor. If these symptoms increase in the home, especially at night, home-based asthma triggers may be the cause. Create an Asthma Action Plan with your doctor to help manage and control asthma attacks. Learn about common asthma triggers and how you can control or remove them from your home.

    Do you live in Maryland? Learn about GHHI's Resident Education Services to learn control asthma triggers in the home.



    1. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build A Healthier America. “Beyond Health Care: New Directions To A Healthier America Report.” April 2009
    2. Akinbami, L. Asthma Prevelance, Health Care Use and Morality: United States 2005-2009. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr032.pdf
    3. Akinbami, L. Asthma prevalence, health care use and mortality: United States 2003-05, CDC National Center for Health Statistics, 2006
    4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011, May). Asthma in the U.S. Vital Signs. Retrieved February 13, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/Asthma/
    5. “The Costs of Asthma,” Asthma and Allergy Foundation 1992 and 1998 Study, 2000 Update
    6. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Retrieved July 19, 2012 from http://www.acaai.org/press/Pages/asthma-facts.aspx

    The Green & Healthy Homes Quiz is a quick and easy way to determine if your home has any potential hazards and what you can do to address them.