FCS5230-02 Renter Power for Better Living: Introduction1 Mary N. Harrison2 1. This document is FCS5230-02, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date June 2002. Revised December 2005. Visit the EDIS Web Site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. 2. Mary N. Harrison, professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, IFAS, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A. & M. University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Larry Arrington, Dean An estimated 17 million Americans suffer from asthma, including nearly 5 million children according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Its important for every person with asthma to be diagnosed, receive appropriate treatment, learn how to manage their asthma and to reduce exposure to environmental factors that trigger the asthma and make it worse. These triggers also cause allergies in many other people. The environmental conditions in your home are very important in reducing or avoiding allergens that cause asthma. Cleanliness is the first step. Precautions should be taken to make sure you select the correct kind of supplies, handle them safely, and clean your home thoroughly. You need to know what allergens to look for and where to find them. Risk factors include dust and dust mites often found in the bedroom. In the bathroom and sometimes the kitchen mold and mildew release scores of allergen spores into the air. Where there is food, there is a concern over pests such as cockroaches that lurk nearby leaving remains and droppings. Small children crawl and/or play on the floor and breathe in the dirt, dust and dust mites from the carpet. Pets shed dander and hair which trigger asthma and allergies. Second-hand smoke, cleaning products that produce toxic fumes when mixed and other triggers also pose safety risks for family members. A clean and safe home is essential to your health and to the health of your family. It also offers financial benefits to you. Information in this book will help you protect the health of your family and your financial well-being. It will teach you to care for your home and make it a better place to live.