Asthma Awareness Month

Respiratory Health Association's e-newsletter is published monthly and contains news of our happenings, program updates and links to lung health resources. This month's issue includes:

Special E-news: Asthma Awareness Month

For 20 years, Illinois has had one of the highest asthma mortality rates in the nation. In some Chicago communities, childhood asthma rates exceed 20 percent. Asthma is serious, but there are steps to take so that people with asthma live healthier, safer lives. In recognition of World Asthma Day, which is today, May 7, and May as Asthma Awareness Month, we wanted to send out a special edition of our e-newsletter to highlight our asthma efforts and provide readers with important asthma information and ways to make a difference.

To receive our monthly e-newsletter, send an email to

Education programs reach more than 3,000 people

FANThis academic year, we have educated more than 700 students and 2,260 adult caregivers in Chicago and southern Cook County through our Fight Asthma Now® and Asthma Management programs. Thanks to Polk Bros. Foundation and Aileen S. Andrew Foundation for their continued support of our work. Recently, we expanded our efforts in Lake County thanks, in part, to a grant from the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County. We educated 20 students and 40 educators in Lake County just last month! The number of students and caregivers who we reach continues to grow.

Learn how to bring asthma programs to your school or community group.

Asthma-Friendly Childcare focuses on best-practices

Asthma-Friendly Childcare
We have educated 18 childcare sites through Asthma-Friendly Childcare. 

Our Asthma-Friendly Childcare program has helped us educate 18 childcare sites about the best practices, policies and action plans to have in place for children with asthma. One participant, Lutheran Social Services, has taken 115 action steps in five of its centers to create new policies and procedures to improve care for children with asthma, such as implementing the use of a Child Medical Information Form and using asthma-friendly cleaning products. Elizabeth Strain, Lutheran Social Services health and nutrition coordinator, said "the project worked well for our sites because it gave autonomy to the centers on choosing how they wanted to implement Asthma-Friendly Childcare to make it work best for them, yet still with the same end goal: decreasing asthma episodes in our students and creating an asthma friendly environment."

Find out how to bring Asthma-Friendly Childcare to your center.

Spring clean the safe way

moldChildren with asthma should live in homes that are mold- and dust-free, but sometimes cleaning supplies can actually exacerbate asthma. When it's time to spring clean, families need to keep in mind that cleaners with strong odors or chemicals can trigger an asthma episode. For this reason, it's best to dilute cleaning products with water or to purchase green products. To further reduce asthma triggers, you should spray cleaners directly into a towel or rag rather than into the air or a surface,and ensure good air ventilation by opening windows. When possible, use cleaning products when family members with asthma are not around.

Visit our What You Need to Know page for more information to avoid asthma triggers.

Pay attention to air pollution this summer

We'd like to remind families of children with asthma to pay special attention to the air pollution levels in the summer. Fine particle matter (soot) and ground-level ozone (smog) pollution are often worse when it's warm out and they can irritate the airways and trigger asthma attacks. Sign up for weather alert apps through to be alerted of Air Pollution Action Days, when air pollution is especially high. On those days, people with asthma or other lung diseases should limit their time outdoors and keep doors and windows shut, especially between peak pollution hours of 1-4 p.m.

Read more Air Pollution Action Days tips on our website.

Get involved: join our efforts!

Advocacy Leglislators Hike 

We have seen lots of success in our asthma-focused efforts, but we couldn't have done it without supporters like you! There are many ways to ensure a healthier future for your loved ones with asthma. Parents of children with asthma should talk to their school or community groups about holding one of our asthma classes at little or no cost. Visit our website to become an e-advocate, and with a click of the button reach legislators about important lung health issues. You can also join our advocacy efforts and meet face-to-face with decision-makers to share your story about how asthma has affected you.

Contact our Asthma Programs Manager Marc Rosen to get involved.