In a study of 80 adults older than 65 years, Karen Huss, DNSc, RN of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing found found that two thirds of the participants suffered from moderate or severe persistent asthma caused primarily by elements in the home such as dust mites, mold, and allergens from cockroaches, cats, and dogs. Almost 75% of the older adults in this study were skin test positive to an airborne allergen, and 53% were skin test positive to at least one indoor allergen. In each of these cases, asthma medication was not being used or was being used improperly.
Dr. Huss believes, "It is critical to identify and control the allergens in an elderly person's environment in order to avoid asthma attacks." She also states that skin tests should be performed so older adults will know which allergens to avoid. Dr. Huss concludes, "Once allergens in the home are reduced and medications that combat inflammation in the airway are introduced, then asthma severity in the elderly should decrease and the quality of life should improve.