Asthma awareness

What is asthma?

Asthma and allergies are both conditions where the body reacts to substances commonly found in the air. Asthma is a very common condition that causes the airways of the lungs to tighten, making breathing difficult. Symptoms of allergies include sneezing, runny nose, sore eyes and itchy throat. It is common for asthma sufferers to also experience allergic symptoms.

What are the causes of asthma or allergies?

The cause of allergies and asthma are unknown but the symptoms are triggered by certain factors. Knowing how to avoid these triggers is an important part of managing these conditions. The leaflet below looks at some of the common triggers found in the home and outdoors such as:

  • mould spores
  • dust mites
  • house pets
  • pests such as mice and cockroaches
  • smoking
  • household chemicals
  • air pollutants from traffic and other sources.

A young boy uses an inhaler. Image taken from the Take Action On Asthma leaflet.

The Take Action on Asthma leaflet will help you to learn more about these triggers and how to avoid them. If you would like a printed copy please email us at air.quality@rbkc.gov.uk or call us on 020 7341 5683.

Take Action on Asthma leaflet [PDF] (file size 296Kb) 

For advice on how to improve the air in your home, go to the Indoor Air Quality page

What other services are available?

  • Asthma UK is a national charity which provides advice and support for people with asthma. Go to the Asthma UK website or call the advice line on: 0800 121 62 44.
  • Join a Breathe Easy Group provided by the British Lung Foundation which provides support groups for people living with a lung condition, their family and carers. More information can be found on the British Lung Foundation website. The Kensington and Chelsea Breathe Easy group meets every second Tuesday of the month from 2.15pm to 4pm in the Physiotherapy Gym, second floor of the Fulham Wing, Royal Brompton Hospital, Fulham Road, SW3 6NP.
  • airTEXT is a free air pollution alert service for people who suffer from asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, heart disease or angina. If you have one of these conditions, you may be affected by elevated levels of air pollution. airTEXT is designed to alert individuals to days of elevated pollution and provide some precautionary health advice. The alerts can come straight to your home phone, mobile or by email. Visit the airTEXT website to sign-up or text 'AIRTEXT' to 78070. 

Housing conditions and asthma

Dwellings should provide protection from the environment and not pose any health or safety risks to the occupants. The Housing, Health and Safety Rating System provides guidance for the assessment of 29 hazards given under Section 9 of the Housing Act 2004. Hazards in the home are assessed by Environmental Health Officers and the landlord or managing agent can be ordered to remove or reduce the hazard by the Council. Hazards which may directly or indirectly influence asthma and allergy symptoms include:

  • excess cold
  • damp and mould growth
  • crowding and space
  • domestic hygiene and pests.

For more information on housing contact the Environmental Healthline on 0207 361 3002 and ask to speak to the private-sector housing team.

Healthy Homes Project

  • is your home cold or damp?
  • do you sometimes struggle to pay your fuel bill?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, and you would like to find out about getting help, call 0808 202 6204. This local initiative is supported by London Warm Zone, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and NHS Kensington and Chelsea.

Smokefree Services

Did you know that exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of children developing asthma and reduces the effectiveness of asthma medication?

Take the Smokefree Homes pledge and protect your family from tobacco smoke. For information on the Smokefree Homes project and local stop smoking services visit the Smokefree Webpages or email smokefree@rbkc.gov.uk.