Testing Your Asthma IQ
Some of the things that can trigger asthma attacks are air pollution,
tobacco smoke, pollen, pets, perfume, dust, mold, spray-on deodorants,
aspirin and ibuprofen, changes in temperature, viruses, sinus infections
and exercise. The true/false statements below deal with the disease’s
causes and preventive measures.
True or False?
- Cockroaches can trigger asthma attacks.
Humidifiers and evaporative (swamp) coolers are not recommended for
use in the homes of patients with asthma who are sensitive to house-dust
Air conditioning during warm weather is recommended for asthma patients.
Patients sensitive to components of house dust should avoid using conventional vacuum cleaners.
Indoor air-cleaning devices cannot eliminate all household
- True. Cockroaches and dust mites spike their droppings
with a highly allergenic protein. Cockroach sensitivity and exposure are
common among patients with asthma who live in inner cities. In
an inner-city asthma study, asthma severity increased with increasing
levels of cockroach antigen in the bedrooms of sensitized children.
- True. Humidifiers and evaporative coolers are potentially
harmful because increased humidity may encourage the growth of both mold
and house-dust mites. In addition, humidifiers may pose a problem if not
properly cleaned because they can harbor and aerosolize mold spores.
- True. Air conditioning allows windows and doors to stay closed, which prevents entry of outside allergens. Regular use of central air conditioning also will usually control humidity sufficiently to reduce house-dust mite growth.
- True. These patients also should stay out of rooms where a vacuum cleaner is being or has just been used. If patients vacuum, they can use a dust mask, a central cleaner with the collecting bag outside the home, or a cleaner fitted with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter or with a double bag.
- True. Air-cleaning devices (such as HEPA and electrostatic
precipitating filters) have been shown to reduce airborne cat dander,
mold spores and particulate tobacco smoke. Air cleaners cannot
significantly reduce exposure to house-dust mite and cockroach allergens
because these heavy particles do not remain airborne.
Sources: "Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management
of Asthma," published by the National Institutes of Health National
Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in 1997, and Newsweek magazine
published May 26, 1997.
Treating Adult Asthma
Return to Another Look at Asthma Treatments
to index--Spring 1999