Merck is launching Build Smart, Breathe Easier, an asthma awareness campaign starring celebrity carpenter Carter Oosterhouse, who will build four homes with asthma-healthy features.

Oosterhouse, a fixture on HGTV, will build houses with low-income families that suffer from asthma in Atlanta, Detroit, LA and Philadelphia as part of the campaign, for which Merck is partnering with Habitat for Humanity and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). The campaign will emphasize the use of easy-to-clean, irritant-free materials, such as non-toxic paint and hard-surface floors, as a means of limiting asthma flare-ups, and will raise awareness of household asthma triggers such as dust mites, mold, pet dander and strong fumes and ways to control them.

Merck and AAFA employees will volunteer their labor on the homes, working alongside Oosterhouse and four families selected by Habitat for Humanity on homes built according to the principles of AAFA’s Asthma and Allergy Friendly Certification Program.  

“Our goal is to educate about how to take steps to try to reduce triggers in the home,” said Oosterhouse on the campaign’s Facebook page, “and to encourage people with asthma to speak with their doctor about the appropriate treatment approach for their individual needs.”

The campaign’s Facebook page, though bereft of branding, does link to Merck-branded “asthma tracking tool (MerckEngage),” “self-management action plan” and “therapy assessment questionnaire.”

Merck’s respiratory portfolio includes Asmanex, Dulera, Foradil, Proventil and Singulair for asthma as well as Clarinex and Nasonex for allergies.