May is Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month. Asthma is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways (tubes that carry oxygen in and out of the lungs). Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning. You may have only one or all of these symptoms.
If you have asthma, allergens can cause the muscles in the airways to tighten. The inflamed and swollen airways become narrow, causing less air to flow into the lungs. Cells in the airways might make more mucus than usual. The sticky, thick mucus can further narrow the airways.
Asthma cannot be cured but it can be controlled by avoiding allergens or other triggers and taking the right medication. You do not outgrow asthma. You might be symptom free for a long time, but the tendency for asthma is always there.
There are two main medications that treat asthma: the anti-inflammatory (Corticosteroid) inhaler to treat the inflammation and the bronchodilator (Albuterol) inhaler to open up the airways. Ask your provider for an Asthma Action Plan that tells you when to start both medications. Don’t wait until the symptoms are out of control.
The most common allergens that can trigger asthma are pollens, molds, dust mites, cockroaches, and furry pets. It is important to start allergy medications (nasal sprays or medications by mouth) as prescribed prior to allergy season or being exposed to these allergens.
Some asthma facts:
- 24 million in US have asthma
- Leading chronic disease in children
- More boys than girls
- More women than men
- 30% adults / 40% children have allergy related asthma
I am hoping to have a forum with more information on asthma and allergies in the fall.
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. (3 John 1: 2)
Peace & Wellness,
—Carol Jones, Parish Nurse