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BedroomHazards commonly found in bedrooms include lead, carbon monoxide (CO) and fire hazards. Visit the living room to learn more about lead hazards; visit the basement to learn more about CO and fire safety. Because the bedroom is where we spend most of our time, this is where you should start thinking about reducing asthma triggers in your home.


Asthma is a chronic (can't be cured) disease that affects the lungs. During an asthma attack, the air passages in your lungs become inflamed/swollen and it is difficult to breathe. This can happen when an asthmatic is exposed to a "trigger," or irritant. Symptoms of an asthma attack include: coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. If left untreated, asthma attacks can lead to hospitalization or death.

The good news is that most triggers, and therefore most cases of asthma, can be controlled.

What are the common asthma triggers that can be found in my home?

  • Environmental Tobacco smoke
  • Dust Mites
  • Mold
  • Pets
  • Pests
  • Strong Fragrances

What can I do about asthma triggers in my home?

  • Environmental tobacco smokeEnvironmental Tobacco smoke
    • Quit smoking, and encourage others in the home to quit.
    • Smoke outside and away from children. Use a "smoking jacket" that can be left outside - smoke gets into the fibers of your clothes and is brought inside.
    • Do not smoke around pregnant women.
  • DustmiteDust mites (microscopic insects - can't be seen)
    • Reduce the amount of fabrics in the bedroom (pillows, carpeting, stuffed animals, etc.).
    • Wash bedding and washable stuffed animals in hot water once/week.
    • Use dust mite/allergen covers on pillows and beds.
    • Vacuum carpets often.
  • MoldMold
    • Find and safely clean the mold you see with warm, soapy water or a 10% bleach solution.
    • Find and fix water leaks immediately (mold depends on moisture and will return if leaks aren't fixed. Talk to your landlord about fixing leaks).
    • Throw out water-damaged or moldy/musty materials.
  • PetsPets
    • Keep pets out of bedrooms - this is where we spend most of our time, so keeping triggers out of the bedroom is very important.
    • Keep pets outside if possible.
    • Wash hands after touching pets.
    • Bathe your pet often.
  • PestsPests
    • Safely address current pest problems with non-toxic methods.
    • Eliminate food, water, shelter.
    • Visit the Kitchen to learn more about pest management.
  • FragrancesStrong Fragrances
    • Avoid using scented candles, cleaners, sprays and laundry detergents.

But if that wasn't a dust mite, what was it?

Many people say they've seen dust mites in their homes, but dust mites can't be seen without a microscope! They are most likely seeing bed bugs. These are small insects that live in furniture and other parts of the home. Although they don't cause or spread disease, they do bite and leave annoying marks.

BedbugBed bugs:

  • Are very annoying but do not cause serious physical health problems.
  • Can fit into very small spaces (like the threads of a screw!)
  • Can be brought home in clothing, suitcases, boxes and used furniture
  • Can be controlled without using dangerous the Monroe County Department of Public Health for assistance


  • Download the Asthma and Pest Management checklists for more details
  • Contact Mary Beth Schlabach at the Regional Community Asthma Network for help controlling your child's asthma and free materials: (585) 442-0459
  • Contact Lynn Braband at Cornell Cooperative Extension for information on Integrated Pest Management: (585) 461-1000 x461 or
  • Contact the Monroe County Department of Public Health at (585) 753-2991