Do you enjoy the outdoors? Do you love pets? What if you had to choose between these things and your ability to breathe?

Unfortunately, for many asthma sufferers, that choice is one they make every day. Asthma affects millions of Americans, many of them children. Asthma is a serious condition that restricts airways and causes breathing difficulties which result in approximately 5,000 deaths annually.

So, how can asthma sufferers do the things they love without suffering? Knowing asthma triggers and how to manage them are the first steps to a fuller, happier life.

Here are a few asthma triggers and ways to manage them, as recommended by the Consumer Federation of America:

* Secondhand smoke. Tobacco smoke, whether exhaled by a smoker or emitted from the end of a burning tobacco product, irritates air passageways.

To keep secondhand smoke from triggering an asthma attack, asthmatics should politely ask friends and guests in their home to refrain from smoking.

Parents with asthmatic children should prohibit smoking in their homes and automobiles.

* Dust mites. These microscopic animals are in every home. They survive on skin flakes and usually live in mattresses, pillows, carpets, upholstered furniture, bedcovers, clothes, stuffed toys and other fabric-covered items.

To keep dust mites at bay, wash sheets, bedcovers and blankets at least once a week in hot water; cover mattresses and pillows in dust-proof covers and maintain low indoor humidity.

* Pets. To keep pets around and avoid asthma problems, pets should be kept out of bedrooms and any other areas where people sleep. They should also be kept away from fabric-covered surfaces, which can collect hair.

* Mold. Mold can grow on wood, paper, carpet and foods. Mold can best be controlled by controlling moisture in your home. To do so, fix leaks in pipes and make sure moisture-filled areas, like kitchens and bathrooms, are well ventilated.

* Cockroaches. Droppings or body parts of cockroaches can be asthma triggers. To manage them, free your home of places for them to hide and be sure not to leave out food or garbage.

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