The month of May is all about asthma and allergy awareness. This year, World Asthma Day is May 2nd. While there is much attention given to asthma and allergies during May, living with asthma happens daily for those diagnosed with this serious lung condition.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease that causes airways to become inflamed and hard to breath. The inside walls of airways become sore, swollen and sensitive. There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed with proper prevention of asthma attacks and treatment.
People with asthma have inflamed airways and are sensitive to things that don’t normally bother others . These triggers can include: smoking, air pollution, pollen , chemicals, dust, pet dander, strong fumes/odors , exercise, weather, medications
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), “more Americans than ever before have asthma and it is one of this country’s most common and costly diseases.” AAFA reports “the annual economic cost of asthma is more than $81.9 billion. The Allergy and Asthma Network lists the average annual per-person medical costs for asthma at $3266.
According to the CDC, “asthma is one of the most common long-term diseases of children, but adults can have asthma, too.” In severe asthma attacks airways can close so much that vital organs don’t get enough oxygen. And yes, death can happen from a severe asthma attack.
Asthma in kids and adults has a huge annual effect on the health and economy of the United State and is predicted to get worse as climate change continues to worsen.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND ASTHMA
As climate change worsens , so too will the air we breath. According to the American Lung Association, “As temperatures increase, warmer air helps to form ground-level ozone or smog, which is a powerful air pollutant. Ozone irritates the lungs and acts like a sunburn on your lungs which may trigger an asthma attack. “
Droughts, floods and extreme storms are becoming more common and severe because of climate change. These storms force people to quickly evacuate homes which often leads many to leave medications and medical contacts behind. The American Lung Association warns repairing damage due to a storm opens up additional risks, such as mold and toxic chemicals found in flooded homes and open burning of debris from gutted buildings. These risks are especially dangerous for individuals with asthma and other lung diseases.
Another concern for those with asthma are wildfires which are becoming more common, intense, and take longer to control. The American Lung Association explains, “Wildfires produce smoke that contain particle pollution, consisting of dangerous particles tiny enough to travel through the lungs into the bloodstream. Particle pollution can cause asthma attacks, heart attacks, early death, and lung cancer. The wind can carry these particles for thousands of miles causing air pollution to increase in other areas, which can cause you to have an unknown exposure.”
How Can an Asthma Attack be Prevented?
There’s no cure for asthma but you can manage the disease by avoiding triggers and taking medications to prevent symptoms.
Follow your treatment plan set up by your doctor. Learn your triggers and avoid them. Take allergy and asthma meds as prescribed. Most people live normal lives with asthma when it is properly managed and can exercise and be athletic. I’ve learned through my doctor how to run competitively despite having asthma. When controlled properly, most people can live a normal life, but control is the key. So follow your asthma action plan and always be asthma aware .
For more asthma information , check out the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America by clicking here
Do you have asthma? What are you challenges dealing with asthma? What tips do you have for those newly diagnosed with asthma? Share in the Comments section.
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DairyFreeGina is allergic to milk and lamb, and eats vegan and gluten free. Gina is a life long fitness enthusiast, runner and dancer who is passionate a bout talking food, nutrition, health and exercise. Gina loves cats big and small, calls Disney World her 2nd home– and often blogs on these topics too