Asthma/Allergy Trigger Control Plan
Because you have asthma, your airways are very These actions will also help you gain
sensitive. They may react to things called triggers control of dust mites - but they may not be
(stimuli that can cause asthma episodes). Your essential:
airways may become swollen, tighten up, and
______ Reduce indoor humidity to less than 50
produce excess mucus in the presence of one or
percent. Use a dehumidifier if needed.
more of the triggers below. These triggers may
______ Remove carpets from your bedroom.
make asthma symptoms worse or keep you from
______ Use chemical agents to kill mites or to change
getting better. It’s important to find out what your
mite antigens in the house.
asthma triggers are. Learn ways to avoid them. If
______ Avoid using a vacuum or being in a room while
you cannot avoid triggers, and your medicine plan
it is being vacuumed.
does not work as well as you and your health care
______ If you must vacuum, one ore more of the
provider think it should, you both should discuss
following things can be done to reduce the amount of
allergy shots (immunotherapy).
dust you breathe in: Use a dust mask, use a central
§ Ask your health care provider to help you find vacuum cleaner with the collecting bag outside the
out what your triggers are and to decide which home, use a vacuum cleaner that has powerful
actions will help the most to reduce your suction.
§ Number each action item in order of
importance. Carry out these actions first.
Once you have completed these actions, move
on to actions that are of lesser importance.
§ Discuss the results of these efforts with your
health care provider.
Pollen and Molds (outdoors)
§ Stay indoors during the midday and Animal Dander
afternoon when the pollen count is high. Dander refers to flakes in the skin, hair, or feathers
§ Use air conditioning, if possible. of all warm-blooded pets including dogs, cats, birds,
§ Keep windows closed during seasons when and rodents. There is no such thing as an allergen-
pollen and mold are highest. free dog. The length of a pet’s hair does not matter.
§ Avoid sources of molds (wet leaves, garden The allergen is in the saliva, urine, and dander.
debris, carpet over concrete floors).
§ Remove the animal from the house or school
Cockroach Allergen § If you must have a pet, keep the pet out of
§ Use insect sprays; but have someone else your bedroom at all times.
spray when you are outside of the home. § If there is forced air heating in the home with
§ Air out the home for a few hours after a pet, close the air ducts in your bedroom.
spraying. § Wash the pet weekly.
§ Use roach traps. § Avoid visits to friends or relatives with pets.
§ Take asthma medicine (cromolyn or beta2-
House Dust Mites agonist; cromolyn is often preferred) before
visiting homes or sites where animals are
These are actions you should take to
gain control of dust mites: § Choose a pet without fur or feathers (such as
______ Encase your mattress and box spring in an a fish or a snake).
airtight cover. § Avoid products made with feathers, for
______ Either encase your pillow or wash it once a example, pillows or comforters.
week every week. § Also avoid pillows, bedding, and furniture
______ Avoid sleeping or lying on upholstered stuffed with kapok (silky fibers from the seed
furniture. pods of the silk-cotton tree).
______ Remove carpets that are laid on concrete. § Use a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA
______ Wash your bed covers, clothes, and stuffed (high-efficiency particulate air) filter.
toys once a week in hot (130° F) water.
This document was prepared by the staff of the UWSP University Health Service.
This information should not be used in lieu of medical care.
Last updated: January 2002
Asthma Trigger Control Plan.doc
Indoor molds Exercise
§ Keep bathrooms, kitchens, and basements § Work out a medicine plan with your health
well aired. care provider that allows you to exercise
§ Clean bathrooms, kitchens, and basements without symptoms.
regularly. § Take inhaled beta2-agonist or prescribed
§ Do not use humidifiers unless humidity anti-inflammatory medicine before
drops below 15% exercising.
§ Use dehumidifiers for damp basement § Warm up before doing exercise and cool
areas, with humidity level set for less than down afterwards.
50% but above 25%.
Empty and clean unit regularly.
§ Do not smoke.
§ Do not allow smoking in the home.
§ Have household members smoke outside.
§ Do not allow any smoking in your bedroom.
Encourage family members to quit smoking.
Their health care provider can help them
§ Use an indoor air-cleaning device (for
smoke, mold, and dander). Weather
§ Wear a scarf over your mouth and nose in
Wood Smoke cold weather.
§ Avoid using a wood burning heat stove to § Pull a turtleneck over your nose on windy or
heat your home. The smoke increases cold days.
lower respiratory symptoms. § Dress warmly in the winter or on windy days.
§ Avoid using kerosene heaters.
Strong Odors and Sprays § Some asthmatics experience serious
§ Do not stay in your home when it is being exacerbation of their symptoms when they
painted. Allow enough time for the paint use aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-
to dry. inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen,
§ Avoid perfume and perfumed cosmetics naproxen).
such as talcum powder and hair spray.
§ Do not use room deodorizers. Food Sensitivity
§ Use non-perfumed household cleaning § You may want to avoid products that could
products whenever possible. possibly contain the preservative sulfite.
§ Reduce strong cooking odors (especially Among these are: precut or dried fruit, fresh
frying) by using a fan and opening windows. mushrooms, processed potatoes, pickled
§ Avoid air pollution by staying indoors on foods, shrimp, cherries , beer, or wine.
days when the pollution count is high.
Colds and Infections
§ Avoid people with colds or the flu.
§ Get rest, eat a balanced diet, and exercise Remember: Making these changes will help keep
regularly. asthma episodes from starting. An asthma trigger
§ Talk to your health care provider about flu control plan is an important part of controlling
§ Do not take over-the-counter remedies,
such as antihistamines and cough syrup,
unless you speak to your health care