You can help prevent asthma attacks by staying away from things that make your asthma worse. This guide suggests many ways to help you do this.

You need to find out what makes your asthma worse. Some things that make asthma worse for some people are not a problem for others. You do not need to do all of the things listed in this guide. Look at the things listed in dark print below. Look for the ones that you know make your asthma worse. Ask your doctor to help you find out what else makes your asthma worse. Then, decide with your doctor what steps you will take. Start with the things in your bedroom that bother your asthma. Try something simple first.

Tobacco Smoke

Tobacco smoke is a common trigger for asthma attacks. Here are some steps you can take to reduce its effects on you:

  • If you smoke, ask your doctor for ways to help you quit. Ask family members to quit smoking, too.
  • Do not allow smoking in your home or around you.
  • Be sure no one smokes at a child's day care center.

Dust Mites

Many people with asthma are allergic to dust mites. Dust mites are like tiny "bugs" you cannot see that live in cloth or carpet.

Things that will help the most:

  • Encase your mattress in a special dust-proof cover.*
  • Encase your pillow in a special dust-proof cover* or wash the pillow each week in hot water. Water must be hotter than 130 degrees F to kill the mites.
  • Wash the sheets and blankets on your bed each week in hot water.

Other things that can help:

  • Reduce indoor humidity to less than 50 percent. Dehumidifiers or central air conditioners can do this.
  • Try not to sleep or lie on cloth-covered cushions or furniture.
  • Remove carpets from your bedroom and those laid on concrete, if you can.
  • Keep stuffed toys out of the bed or wash the toys weekly in hot water.