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Health department promotes asthma awareness

Nearly 26 million people living in the United States have asthma, a chronic lifelong disease that affects the lungs. Asthma can cause wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. Although asthma cannot be cured, it is possible to manage asthma to reduce and prevent asthma attacks, also called episodes. In the United States, approximately half of people with asthma had at least one asthma attack in 2012. More children (55 percent) than adults (49 percent) had an attack.

Asthma attacks cause adults to miss work and children to miss school. These dangerous and sometimes life-threatening episodes reduce the quality of life for people with asthma. The good news is that we can raise awareness about asthma and how it can be controlled.

People with asthma can prevent asthma attacks if they learn how to avoid asthma triggers like tobacco smoke, mold, outdoor air pollution and colds and flu. Asthma episodes can also be prevented by using inhaled corticosteroids and other prescribed daily long-term control medicines correctly.

Studies show that less than half of people with asthma report being taught how to avoid triggers. Almost half of adults who were taught how to avoid triggers did not follow most of this advice.

Lawrence County Health Department joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) in encouraging people with asthma to learn more about how to control asthma and prevent asthma episodes.

This year’s World Asthma Day theme is “You Can Control Your Asthma.”

It’s time to control asthma in Ironton and throughout the world. To learn more about asthma control and management, visit CDC at www.cdc.gov/asthma.

To learn how to raise awareness about asthma, visit GINA at www.ginasthma.org and use CDC’s Online Asthma Awareness Toolkit (http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/world_asthma_day.htm). For air quality information, visit EPA AirNow at www.enviroflash.info.

 

Stephanie Stumbo, RN

Immunization and Infectious Disease Coordinator, Lawrence County Health Department