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What is asthma?

Asthma is a disease that affects your lungs. It causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing.

Asthma remains a significant burden on our state, our health care system, employers, and many Delawareans and their families. Because asthma is a chronic condition, it requires lifestyle changes for people living with asthma and their families. People with asthma usually adopt a self-management regimen with a physician's help. Utilizing the healthcare system, i.e., hospital inpatient and emergency room visits, is primarily part of asthma management.

Certain environmental factors can trigger asthma symptoms, like smoke. Reducing smoking in public places or at home can help reduce asthma episodes. Continued monitoring of air quality and attempts to reduce airborne irritants also can have a widespread impact on those with asthma and their families. Efforts to mitigate other known irritants, such as pet dander, dust mites, and some chemicals in homes and public places, can also reduce asthma's burden.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates that asthma — including medical expenses, medication, lost work and school days, and costs of premature death — costs about $3,300 per person with asthma per year. Based on this estimate, the total cost of asthma in Delaware would be more than $200 million a year.

Woman raising a happy baby in the air on a beach.
Photo credit:Lawrence Crayton

Key Data & Reports

Asthma in Delaware

Data are current as of 2022

Most recent dashboard update: 5/29/2024

The Asthma area of the site includes the following four topics:

Here, we highlight one key statistic from each topic. Click a table row to see more detailed data for the topic.

Table Key


% Change

Asthma Emergency Department Visits

age-adjusted rate per 10,000 population


Increased 100.0%(2017 - 2022)


Asthma Hospitalizations

age-adjusted rate per 10,000 population


Decreased 59.8%(2011 - 2021)


Asthma Deaths

age-adjusted rate per 10,000 population


Decreased 6.9%(2011 - 2016)


Additional Information

Asthma in Delaware


2016 Asthma Report Update

This 2016 update reviews what has happened with asthma prevalence in the past decade, based on data from the Division and from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

CDC's Asthma Page

National health resources

EPA's Asthma Page

National environment resources


In releasing this information, Delaware aims to provide information that can be helpful to local communities as they work to improve public health. However, the protection of the confidentiality of our citizens is of paramount importance. To that end, counts of less than 11 are not presented. An outside expert has reviewed the platform to ensure it complies with the HIPAA privacy rule (45 CFR 164.§514(b)).