National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month
May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness month, coinciding with the peak season for those who suffer with asthma and allergies. It’s a great opportunity to educate your family, friends and the public about asthma and allergy triggers, symptoms and how to control them.
“There is no cure for asthma and allergies,” said Ernesto Ong MD, a pediatrician at PIH Health Hacienda Heights Medical Office Building. “However, many deaths are preventable with proper treatment and care.”
Asthma is responsible for 2 million emergency room visits, 14 million doctor visits, almost 500,000 hospitalizations and 3,600 deaths a year. More than 50 million Americans have some types of allergy.
Asthma is caused by inflamed airways, which are sensitive to various triggers. Triggers vary from person to person and some people react to only a few while others react to many so, it’s important for each person to keep track of their triggers.
An allergic reaction happens when a person’s immune system reacts to a foreign substance or allergen. Symptoms could be coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and a scratchy throat. Severe cases can cause rashes, hives, low blood pressure, breathing trouble, asthma attacks and even death.
In addition to prescribed medications, the best treatment for both asthma and allergy is to avoid triggers and allergens as much as possible.
- Stay away from environments that have smoke, dust, pollution or pollen.
- Don’t eat any foods that that have allergens such as nuts, seafood, eggs and dairy.
- Be aware of medications and any other allergens (insect bites, latex, poison ivy) that could cause an allergic reaction in your body.
To learn more about asthma and allergy, visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America at aafa.org.