May is National Asthma & Allergy MonthBy EVELYN JACKSON COLUMNIST,
Awareness events are held throughout the month of May to coincide with the peak season for asthma & allergy sufferers.
They are supported by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). People who suffer from asthma and allergies often experience noticeable physical symptoms during this month.
An awareness campaign in May is an appropriate time to educate friends, family, co-workers and members of the public about asthma and allergies.
In the US, approximately 25 million people have asthma of which almost 7 million are children.
In 2010, almost 13 million people reported having an asthma attack (just over half of the total number of people with this condition).
There is a higher incidence of asthma emergencies, hospitalizations and death in African Americans compared to Caucasians.
Puerto Ricans are also disproportionally affected. By educating the public about asthma and allergies it is hoped that more people will take early action to deal with any symptoms.
Taking early action, which in many cases may be preventative action, can improve the quality of life of asthma and allergy sufferers.
Time and money spent on medical intervention can also be reduced.
Asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and a tightness in the chest. Symptoms of allergies can vary in severity.
Mild allergy symptoms include congestion, skin rash, and itchy water eyes. Moderate symptoms include difficulty in breathing, and itchiness.
Severe asthma symptoms can begin with itching of the eyes and face, but soon progress to swelling, causing breathing difficulties, cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Confusion and dizziness are further symptoms of asthma.
It is hoped that these awareness events will educate more people about asthma triggers controlled enabling people with asthma to live active and healthy lives.
The AAFA organizes activities and invites people to use materials to raise awareness about asthma and allergies at home, school, and work. One such resource is the Asthma Awareness Month Event Planning Kit.
This is a free, comprehensive 14 page guide, which gives information on ideas and how to plan an awareness event whilst providing general asthma facts and help with media outreach.