Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases with an estimated 300 million individuals affected worldwide. Its prevalence is increasing, especially among children. Asthma can be effectively treated, and most patients can keep their asthma under control. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. Chronically inflamed airways are hyper responsive and become obstructed limiting airflow (by mucus plugs and inflammation) when airways are exposed to risk factors.
Asthma causes recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing especially at night or early in the morning. Parents should be aware of the signs to watch for in their children like wheezing at rest, wheezing or coughing after active play, attacks of coughing during sleep or doctor/hospital visits due to wheezing or trouble breathing.
Common risk factors for asthma symptoms are allergens: dust mites, animals with fur like cats and dogs, pollens and mold; occupational irritants; respiratory viral infections; tobacco smoke; exercise; and drugs, such as aspirin and beta blockers.
The development of partnerships between the person with asthma and their health care team is the best way to reach and maintain Asthma control. Patients are diagnosed based on their symptoms and medical history and confirmed with a test of lung functions called Spirometry.
These are some steps you can take to control your Asthma ( pdf 4,075kb ):
1- Avoid risk factors
- Quit smoking, and stay away from tobacco smoke; patients and parents of asthmatic children should not smoke. For more information call 1-866-NY-Quits.
- Avoid animals with fur or use air filters.
- Avoid indoor mold by reducing the dampness in the home and clean damp areas frequently.
- Avoid outdoor activities when pollens and mold counts are high.
- Wash bed linens and blankets weekly in hot water to get rid of the dust mites.
- Get the Influenza vaccine every year.
- Replace carpets with hard flooring.
- During pregnancy, asthma severity often changes; patients require close follow up and medication adjustment as poorly controlled asthma could carry a risk to the baby.
2- Take medications correctly as prescribed by your health care provider.
3- Recognize signs that asthma is worsening and take action.
4- Be sure to discuss an asthma action plan with your physician.
Asthma is not a cause for shame. Olympic athletes, world leaders, other celebrities and ordinary people live successful lives with Asthma.
For more information, contact the Asthma Resource Line: 1-800-749-4042, visit www.asthmawny.org or call the Genesee County Health Department at 344-2580 ext. 5555