Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways, making it difficult for the sufferer to breath. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning.

Asthma affects people of all ages, but most often starts during childhood. In the United States, more than 25 million people are known to have asthma, approximately 7 million of whom are children. There is no cure for asthma; however, asthma may be controlled through medical treatment and management of asthma triggers.

Asthma Triggers

There are multiple types of allergens and irritants that trigger asthma attacks or worsen symptoms of asthma. Common asthma triggers include second-hand smoke, dust mites, molds, cockroaches and pests, pets, nitrogen dioxide, chemical irritants, population, and wood smoke. Many of these natural triggers are present within the home and other indoor locations where Americans spend 90% of their time.

The triggers that an individual with asthma reacts to differs from person to person. It is possible for one person to react to a singular exposure, while another may react to several exposures in their environment. It is essential that individuals with asthma, quickly identify and avoid potential triggers in their home and indoor environment so that they may be successful in managing their condition.
Linn County Public Health's Role: Management of Indoor Triggers

The Healthy Homes branch at Linn County Public Health provides a free home assessment for adults and children who have been diagnosed with asthma. The assessment is provided under the Community Health Asthma Management Program, which is federally funded allowing for the services to be provided free of charge. The program includes a Healthy Homes Assessment, education about asthma triggers, and how to reduce asthma triggers in the home. A healthy homes assessment, includes a visual walk-through evaluation of building and mechanical components, indoor air quality, temperature, and relative humidity.

To enroll in the CHAMP program or inquire about services contact Lynne Abbott at (319) 892-6021 or