St. Luke's University Health Network

Asthma Initiative

Asthma Initiative

If you live in the city of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, you can receive a free home visit with a health bureau nurse to discuss asthma maintenance and identify possible triggers in the home. Call the Bethlehem Health Bureau at 610-865-7087 and ask to speak with an asthma nurse.

Asthma Triggers and Resources

Indoors

Smoking
It is harmful to smoke indoors and in the car with someone who has asthma. Want help quitting? Call the St. Luke's Hospital Tobacco Treatment Center at 484-526-2100.

Dust
Dust collects on bedding, stuffed animals, carpet and curtains. Here are some recommendations:

  • Cover the mattress and pillows with dust proof covers
  • Bedding should be washed in hot water once a week and stored in plastic zip bags when not in use
  • Put stuffed animals in the freezer for four hours to kill mites
  • When cleaning, make sure to open windows and have people with asthma wear a mask
  • If possible, use a HEPA filter vacuum

Mold
Mold accumulates in damp areas.

  • Open the window or run the fan in the bathroom while showering
  • Keep areas around the sink as dry as possible
  • A dehumidifier can help in damp basements

Pets
Pets produce dander that can irritate those with asthma.

  • Keep pets out of the bedroom where the person with asthma sleeps
  • Wash pet fur once a week

Cockroaches
Cockroach droppings commonly trigger asthma. Use gels instead of bombs or sprays to get rid of cockroaches.

Perfumes and Air Fresheners 
Use non-chemical air fresheners, such as natural citrus products. Use unscented cleaning agents and laundry detergents.

Indoor Plants
Plants help to filter out chemicals and pollutants in the air. It is recommended to have one plant in each room. Recommended indoor plants

  • Philodendron
  • Spider plant
  • Peace lily
  • Areca palm
  • Reed palm

Outdoors

Ozone
During very hot days in the summer, the sun reacts with the pollution in the air making it harder to breathe. Levels above 100 are dangerous for people with asthma. Check for daily ozone readings on airnow.gov and on cable news.

Seasonal Allergies

  • Pollens and ragweed may worsen symptoms of asthma
  • Keep windows closed during high pollen days
  • Shower after coming indoors to wash off pollen
  • See an allergist for testing
  • Call St. Luke's InfoLink toll-free at 1-866-STLUKES (785-8537) to recommend an allergist

Particulate Matter
Diesel exhaust from city buses, school buses, and trucks can all trigger asthma. Levels above 100 are dangerous for people with asthma.

  • Check for daily particulate matter readings on airnow.gov
  • Circulate A/C or heat within car
  • Put an A/C unit in the bedroom window to filter outdoor air
  • Under Pennsylvania Act 124, it is illegal for vehicles to idle for more than 5 minutes. Contact local police to file a complaint if you witness a vehicle idling over 5 minutes.

Cold Air

  • Wear a scarf around neck and mouth
  • Limit exercise outside during cold weather

Other Asthma Tips

See a doctor every six months.

No insurance? Every child under 18 is eligible for state insurance. Contact the insurance program at 484-526-2100 for assistance with an application (include link).

Get a flu shot every fall. Free flu shots are available to families in need. Contact St. Luke's InfoLink toll-free at 1-866-STLUKES (785-8537) for a list of St. Luke's flu clinics.