More Americans suffering from asthma than ever
Each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) declares May to be National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. May is a peak season for asthma and allergy sufferers, and a perfect time to educate family, friends, co-workers and others about these diseases.
According to AAFA’s website, asthma is a disease of the lungs in which the airways become blocked or narrowed causing breathing difficulty. This chronic disease affects 20 million Americans and is the most common chronic condition among children.
A recent Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study showed more Americans than ever before say they are suffering from asthma. It is one of this country’s most common and costly diseases. The prevalence of asthma has been increasing since the early 1980s across all age, sex and racial groups.
Every day in America, 40,000 people miss school or work due to asthma, 30,000 people have an asthma attack, 5,000 people visit the emergency room due to asthma, 1,000 people are admitted to the hospital due to asthma and 11 people die from asthma.
An allergy is characterized by an overreaction of the human immune system to a foreign protein substance or allergen that is eaten, breathed into the lungs, injected or touched. This immune overreaction can result in symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat. In severe cases it can also result in rashes, hives, lower blood pressure, difficulty breathing, asthma attacks, and even death.
More Americans than ever before say they are suffering from allergies. It is among the country’s most common, yet often overlooked, diseases.
An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from all types of allergies, affecting 1 in 5 Americans, including indoor and outdoor, food and drug, latex, insect, skin and eye allergies.
Allergy is the fifth leading chronic disease in the U.S. among all ages, and the third most common chronic disease among children under 18 years old.
While there are no cures for allergies, however with proper prevention and treatment, allergies can be managed.
The AAFA recommends several simple tips to improve indoor air quality.
• Control dust mites by keeping surfaces in the home clean and uncluttered.
• Vacuum once or twice weekly to help keep allergens to a minimum. If you have allergies, wear a dust mask while doing housework and leave the house for several hours after cleaning to air it out.
• Using a HEPA air filter in rooms can help to remove allergen particles from the air. Air conditioners and dehumidifiers can help reduce humidity, but remember to change filters as recommended by manufacturers.
• Most doctors suggest that people allergic to animal dander avoid household pets with feathers or fur. However, if you decide to keep a pet, bar it from the bed and bedroom.
• To reduce the number of outdoor allergens from entering the home, keep windows and doors closed and setting the air conditioner on re-circulate.
• Avoid mold by reducing moisture around the bathroom, kitchen and other wet areas of the home.
• Do not leave food or garbage uncovered to control cockroaches and use poison baits, boric acid and traps rather than chemical agents that can irritate your nasal allergies.
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