Indoor environmental exposures, particularly allergens and pollutants, are major contributors to asthma morbidity in children; environmental control practices aimed at reducing these exposures are an integral component of asthma management. Some individually tailored environmental control practices that have been shown to reduce asthma symptoms and exacerbations are similar in efficacy and cost to controller medications. As a part of developing tailored strategies regarding environmental control measures, an environmental history can be obtained to evaluate the key indoor environmental exposures that are known to trigger asthma symptoms and exacerbations, including both indoor pollutants and allergens. An environmental history includes questions regarding the presence of pets or pests or evidence of pests in the home, as well as knowledge regarding whether the climatic characteristics in the community favor dust mites. In addition, the history focuses on sources of indoor air pollution, including the presence of smokers who live in the home or care for children and the use of gas stoves and appliances in the home. Serum allergen-specific immunoglobulin E antibody tests can be performed or the patient can be referred for allergy skin testing to identify indoor allergens that are most likely to be clinically relevant. Environmental control strategies are tailored to each potentially relevant indoor exposure and are based on knowledge of the sources and underlying characteristics of the exposure. Strategies include source removal, source control, and mitigation strategies, such as high-efficiency particulate air purifiers and allergen-proof mattress and pillow encasements, as well as education, which can be delivered by primary care pediatricians, allergists, pediatric pulmonologists, other health care workers, or community health workers trained in asthma environmental control and asthma education.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health