Environmental factors play a major role in the development, triggering, and management of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Recent research has identified various environmental risk factors for asthma, highlighting the need for proactive risk management strategies to protect the health of vulnerable individuals.
One of the most significant environmental risk factors for asthma is air pollution. Exposures to air pollutants such as ozone, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter can exacerbate asthma symptoms, reduce lung function, and increase the risk of hospitalization. Short-term exposure to higher levels of air pollution has also been linked to asthma-related deaths.
Pests and Pesticides
Pest infestations, such as rodents and cockroaches, can trigger asthma flare-ups and aggravate existing respiratory conditions. Pesticides and other hazardous chemicals used to manage pests may also contribute to asthma risk.
Mold exposure has been associated with the development of new-onset asthma, as well as asthma exacerbation. Mold exposure can result from water damage in homes and buildings, where damp and humid conditions exist and encourage mold growth.
Risk Prevention and Management
Due to the potentially serious impacts of environmental exposure on asthma and other respiratory illnesses, it is important to take action to prevent and reduce exposure to risk factors. To help identify risk factors, evaluation protocols should be used to monitor indoor and outdoor air quality, pest populations, mold exposure, and the use of pesticides.
By proactively managing environmental risks, individuals with asthma and their care providers can take steps to protect health and reduce asthma symptoms. If environmental exposures are identified, people living with asthma may benefit from actions such as improving air filtration, reducing exposure to household pests, controlling mold growth, and minimizing indoor pollution.