A Summer with Asthma: Face the Challenge and Outsmart the Condition

By Molly Hooven

Summer heat is here, the air quality is diminishing and the asthma triggers are beginning to strike my family and possibly yours as well. Asthma can play a big role in your life but it’s important to remember that it should never slow you down.

I remember, as a young girl, when the ambulance came to my house and my uncle had to be given oxygen because he had a severe asthma attack. My uncle is my role model and he has asthma. What many people may not realize is that many of their role models have asthma too!
Did you know that Redskins player Chris Draft, first daughter Malia Obama and nearly 7 million children across the U.S. have asthma? You can still accomplish great things while managing asthma!

One of my greatest accomplishments is being able to manage my asthma and still play volleyball. On one hot July day I competed in an outdoor match when there was barely enough good air to breathe just standing on the sidelines. My competitive nature led me to overlook the Air Quality Index and soon the surrounding area started to blur.

Panic rose upon my face and tears began to spill as my throat was quickly closing and it felt like trying to breathe through a straw.
While I didn’t avoid the unhealthy air, which is a known asthma trigger, I did have a plan. Quickly I used my inhaler, sat in the shade, and rehydrated. People are going to have asthma attacks; the key is to have a plan!

Part of your plan should be to understand and recognize what your triggers are. Particulates (soot) and ozone (smog) are outdoor asthma triggers I faced in my game but there are also indoor triggers such as dust mites, molds, cockroaches and second hand smoke.

The main asthma trigger at my house is actually part of our family — our yellow lab. Since we can’t get rid of her pet dander, which is another asthma trigger, we take alternative actions such as not allowing her in bedrooms and brushing excess hair outside.

Those with and without an asthma condition need to understand potential triggers during the summer, develop a plan if faced with an attack, and realize that you’re not alone. If James Monk, Jerome Bettis, my uncle and I can succeed with an inhaler by our side—so can you!

About the author: Molly Hooven joined the EPA in November 2010 as a SCEP intern. She recently earned her M.B.A. from Mount St. Mary’s University and has an undergraduate degree in Communications.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.