Asthma Management at College

When you pack up to head for college, you can pick and choose which of your favorite items from home that you want to bring with you. But unfortunately, when it comes to bringing your asthma, you have absolutely no choice in the matter. That being said, even though you can't leave your symptoms behind, there are some asthma management steps you can take to help keep them under control most of the time.

Successful Asthma Management Strategies

Managing asthma at college isn't all that different from managing asthma symptoms in your home setting. The same types of asthma management and treatment strategies you typically use will still apply in your dorm room. The main challenge, though, is that you are moving to an environment that could be unknown.

Check Out the Setting

If you suffer from allergic asthma, the first step in maintaining control of your symptoms is selecting a dorm or apartment setting that is allergy-free. If your symptoms are severe, you may want to enlist help from the housing placement office in helping you find a location that will enable you to minimize your triggers there. Older buildings laden with dust and mold, particularly damp rooms and very cluttered surroundings where dust mites can thrive are all areas you will want to avoid. Also make sure to be in a location where smoking is never allowed.  These simple, but important, steps can help you reach your asthma management goals.

Decorate with Care

Once you have the right location, there are also some simple, but important, steps you can take to control your dorm room environment inside. For instance, use hypoallergenic bedding, use a mattress cover to keep dust mites away from you while you are sleeping, and avoid stuffed animals, knick knacks and other clutter that can allow dust to accumulate in your room. Also go without an area rug if you can, since dust mites can accumulate there. Further, wash your sheets in hot water once a week to keep allergens from accumulating there. If these asthma management steps aren't enough, you can also look into running a HEPA filter to clean the air.

Be Prepared

Despite your best efforts, you may encounter mold, dust mites and even scented hairspray and lotions from other people living in the dorm. Therefore, it is essential that prepared for being exposed to these and other allergens that can cause your symptoms to flare.

You should meet with your allergist before you go to review your asthma management plan and be sure that it is up-to-date with the right medications and with updated action steps you can take in your new location. This should include always carrying your fast-acting relief inhaler with you wherever you go, knowing where the nearest emergency room is and educating your roommate, dorm monitor and friends about the importance of calling for help right away if you should have a serious attack. You should also plan to get a flu shot, and ask your roommate to get one too, so you can avoid getting sick and running into asthma complications as a result of the illness.

Enjoy this Exciting Time

Going to college is an exciting time!  Remember that you can make the transition to your new lifestyle smoothly if you take the time to be prepared and implement your asthma management plan and any other necessary steps.


American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

Asthma and Allergy Network: Mothers of Asthmatics

Kids Source

The National Environmental Education and Training Foundation

University of Mary Hardin-Baylor