For the Participant
Thank you for your interest in NHALES. Please find the materials you will need for your upcoming visit in the Downloadable Material section and general information about asthma below.
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the lung. This inflammatory process can occur along the entire airway from the nose to the lung. Once the airway becomes swollen and inflamed, it becomes narrower, and less air gets through to the lung tissue. This causes symptoms like wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing. During an asthma attack, the muscles around the airways tighten up and the asthma symptoms become even worse than usual.
Does Asthma Run in Families?
Asthma does run in families, which suggests that genetics play an important role in the development of the disease. If one or both parents have asthma, the child is much more likely to develop the condition — this is known as genetic susceptibility.
Are Allergies Related to Asthma?
Asthma can be triggered by substances in the environment called allergens. Indoor allergens from dust mites, cockroaches, dogs, cats, rodents, molds, and fungi are among the most important environmental triggers for asthma.
What Can I Do to Reduce Allergens and Asthma Attacks?
NIEHS scientists identified several strategies that reduce indoor allergens and asthma symptoms - cockroach extermination, thorough professional cleaning, and in-home visits to educate the occupants about asthma management. Using these strategies, cockroach allergens were reduced by 84 percent, well below the threshold for producing asthma symptoms.
Other research showed that some simple steps - washing bedding in hot water; putting allergen-impermeable covers on pillows, box springs, and mattresses; and vacuuming and steam cleaning carpets and upholstered furniture - can significantly reduce dust mite allergen levels.