Childhood asthma is one of the leading chronic conditions affecting children today. From 1980 until the mid '90s, the prevalence of childhood asthma more than doubled. Researchers have found a variety of factors that put children at risk for childhood asthma. If your child becomes one of the 7.1 million American children to develop asthma, there are steps you can take to keep it under control.

Risk Factors

Environmental

Researchers have found that indoor and outdoor environmental factors increase a child's risk of developing asthma. One study found that an increase in the level of ammonia in the air from industrial facilities could be link to an increased risk of asthma. In addition, frequent truck traffic, indoor mold, indoor chemical use, cold weather, high humidity, second hand tobacco smoke, gas stove use (nitrogen dioxide), and humidifier or vaporizer use, also play a role in the development of asthma.

Hereditary

If you have asthma, your child has a higher chance of developing the condition. This is also true if there is a family history of allergic rhinitis (chronic runny nose), hives, or eczema.

Allergies

Children who have had allergic reactions, including food allergies, hay fever, or skin reactions in the past, are at a higher risk of developing asthma. Studies indicate that 40% to 50% of children with eczema or atopic dermatitis develop asthma.

Low Birth Weight

Due to smaller airways, babies who are born premature (or at a low weight) often develop asthma that can go away over time. In addition, if the mother smoked during pregnancy, it could result in lower lung function for her baby.

Illness at an Early Age

Early viral infections are thought to increase a child's risk for asthma.

Prevent Asthma Attacks

Eliminate Smoke

If you smoke, quit. If you don't smoke, don't allow anyone else to smoke in your home or even in your yard. If you can, avoid having smokers over to your home at all, as third-hand smoke can travel into your home on their clothing.

Avoid Allergens

Certain indoor allergens can be avoided by not allowing pets into the child's room and by using allergy-proof bedding to reduce exposure to dust mites. You can also remove carpeting, vacuum regularly, and buy unscented, eco-friendly cleaners and detergents.

Get Rid of Mold

If you suspect there is mold in your home, purchase a low-cost mold test kit from a home improvement store. If the test comes back positive for mold, talk to an expert about removing the mold from your home. Make sure your bathroom and kitchen fans work and vent outside of the home. Keep the humidity levels low and fix any leaks in your home. This will help keep mold from growing.

Keep It Clean

A clean home means a home that is free of cockroaches, which can cause asthma attacks. So keep food in the kitchen and clean regularly.

Use Filters

Place filters over your heating outlets in order to trap dust and animal dander.