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Publication #FAR5016

Indoor Air Quality and Asthma1

Mary Harrison and Donna Davis2

Figure 1. 
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Indoor air quality can have a significant impact on a family's health, especially if a family member has asthma. Researchers say more than half the U.S. population with asthma suffers from the allergic form of the disease. In these cases, the asthma is aggravated by exposure to allergens, like pollen, dust mites, and mold. And if you live in Florida, home of 10 of the 100 most challenging cities for people with asthma, air quality (indoors or out) provides an even greater problem (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 2005).

However, there are steps you can take to reduce the triggers that cause the onset of an asthma attack. For example, many asthma sufferers are very sensitive to dust mites. Dust mites are found in bedding, pillows, stuffed toys, overstuffed furniture, and carpeting. Enclose the mattress in a plastic cover and seal. Wash the sheets and pillow cases once a week or more often, and avoid feather pillows. Don't put stuffed toys on the bed, and wash toys often or put them in a freezer for 48 hours often to kill mites. Don't allow an asthmatic child to lie on a carpeted floor or overstuffed furniture, where it's easy to inhale dust mites. (Dust mites are very small and can be seen only with magnification.) Consider a hard-surface floor too.

Keeping up with dust and dust mites is no easy task but will dramatically improve the quality of life of those who suffer from asthma.

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

To listen to the radio broadcast:


Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. (2005). Do you live in an asthma capital? Retrieved June 8, 2007, from [6 November 2012].



This document is FAR5016, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department,UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 132 and published January 2008. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Mary Harrison, professor, and Donna Davis, senior producer, Family Album Radio, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.