Asthma is a disease that affects many adults and children in Connecticut. Asthma is a chronic disease of the respiratory system that is characterized by reversible obstruction of the airways and airway hyper-responsiveness to a variety of stimuli. Left uncontrolled or poorly-managed, asthma can lead to emergency department visits, hospitalization, or death. In 2010, 18.7 million adults and 7 million children in the United States had asthma. Asthma prevalence in Connecticut adults and children has been higher than national prevalence rates since the year 2000. In Connecticut, the populations disproportionately affected by asthma are: children, females, Hispanics, non-Hispanic Blacks, and residents of the state’s five largest cities. (www.ct.gov/dph.) Between 2005 and 2009, there were 726 hospitalizations and 1,578 Emergency Department visits for asthma by residents of the Quinnipiack Valley Health District. (Data from “The Burden of Asthma in CT” report.)
The most common indoor environmental asthma triggers are:
- Tobacco and wood smoke
- Cold air
- Dust mites
- Perfumes, paint, hair spray and strong odors or fumes
- Molds and pollen
- Pets or other animals with fur or feathers
Simple Solutions to Minimize These Triggers
- Smoke outdoors
- Avoid fireplaces and wood stoves
- Wash bedding in hot water weekly
- Be sure to have good air circulation
- Place a dehumidifier in your basement to minimize moisture
- Keep plants outdoors
- Keep pets out of the asthmatic’s bedroom
Control Your Asthma
Download You Can Control Your Asthma for more information.
All persons with asthma should have a written asthma action plan. This plan (also called a management plan) is a written plan that you develop with your doctor to help control your asthma.
Local Asthma Resources
Putting on AIRS
Asthma Indoor Risk Strategies (AIRS) is a program designed to target the reduction of environmental asthma triggers in your home. This program is available to residents through the local health departments and districts listed below! To arrange for a home visit call Putting On AIRS (203) 701-4522, Press Option 1 . (Asthma Region 6 Putting on AIRS is a program sponsored by the CT Dept. of Public Health and coordinated by the Milford Health Dept. This program is not endorsed by or affiliated with your physician’s office.)
CAIR (Community Asthma Integrated Resources)
This is a federally funded grant program for children with high-risk asthma. It can provide an office-based clinical evaluation, detailed educational sessions, and/or home environmental assessment with trigger-reduction supplies (including a HEPA vacuum) all at no cost to families. To qualify, your child must be between the ages of 2 and 17, live in the greater New Haven area, have a diagnosis of asthma AND one of the following: Emergency room use, hospitalized overnight or on an oral steroid for asthma during the past 12 months. You cannot refer your child. Ask your pediatrician about this program as the referral must come from the doctor’s office.