May is Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month
Spring has officially arrived and along with the warm weather, the budding trees and the blooming flowers, noses have begun to run, eyes are watering and the sounds of exasperated coughs and sneezes echo from every direction. Yes, it is peak season for asthma and allergies and, not surprisingly, May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.

Asthma is a chronic disease of the respiratory system that causes inflammation and constriction in the bronchial tubes that carry air to the lungs. The resulting constriction of the airway causes episodes in which a person has difficulty breathing. When these symptoms occur they are called asthma attacks. If you have any of these symptoms seek treatment immediately. Asthma symptoms vary and may come and go depending upon your environment and/or your activities.

Asthma symptoms may include:

  • Continuous coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains or tightness

Some things make asthma symptoms worse; they are called triggers. Common triggers are:

  • Pollen
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Cold/flu
  • Animal dander
  • Mold
  • Dust/Dust mites
  • Cockroaches

Remember, asthma is not restricted to an age bracket, nationality or gender, but is extremely common in children. About one in thirteen children in the United States has asthma. African-Americans are three times more likely to die or be hospitalized because of asthma according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There is no cure for asthma, but there are several types of treatment available to control and treat asthma symptoms. Being proactive and not just reactive in your medical care by utilizing tools such as an Asthma Action Plan, a Peak Flow Meter, your Medication and your Physician will assist you in living a healthy, active life. Prevention is the key to asthma success!

For further information on health programs available in your state, visit GovBenefits.gov's State Benefit Programs!

Medicaid Program
The Medicaid Program provides medical benefits to low-income people who have no medical insurance or have inadequate medical insurance. For more information, visit the Medicaid Program.

State Children's Health Insurance Program
The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is a partnership between the Federal and State Governments that provides health coverage to uninsured children whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to afford private coverage. For more information, visit the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Asthma/Asthma_WhatIs.html

National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases
http://www.niaid.nih.gov/