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May is Asthma Awareness Month

More than 24 million people living in the United States have asthma, a chronic lifelong disease that affects the lungs. Asthma can cause wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. Although asthma cannot be cured, it is possible to manage asthma to reduce and prevent asthma attacks, also called episodes.  In the United States, approximately half of people with asthma had at least one asthma attack in 2013. More children (58%) than adults (47%) had an attack.


In Georgia, nearly 1 in 11 children has asthma; and Black children are twice as likely as White children to have asthma.  Additionally, asthma-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations for children cost Georgia more than $40.5 million in 2015.  These costs are preventable if asthma is controlled.


Asthma attacks cause adults to miss work and children to miss school. These dangerous and sometimes life-threatening episodes reduce the quality of life for people with asthma. The good news is that we can raise awareness and learn how asthma can be controlled.


People with asthma can prevent attacks if they learn how to avoid triggers like tobacco smoke, mold, outdoor air pollution, and colds and flu. Asthma episodes can also be prevented by using prescribed daily long-term control medicines correctly.


Studies show that fewer than 50 percent of people with asthma report being taught how to avoid triggers. Almost half of adults who were taught how to avoid triggers did not properly follow the advice.


To raise awareness about the health consequences and personal and financial costs of asthma, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) Georgia Asthma Control Program (GACP) is participating in World Asthma Day on May 1, 2018, and Asthma Awareness Month throughout May. GACP joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) in encouraging people with asthma to learn more about how to control this disease and prevent future attacks/episodes.


This year’s World Asthma Day theme is "You Can Control Your Asthma."


It's Time to Control Asthma in Georgia and throughout the world. To learn more about asthma control and management, visit CDC at www.cdc.gov/asthma. To learn how to raise awareness about asthma, visit GINA at www.ginasthma.org and use CDC’s Online Asthma Awareness Toolkit (http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/world_asthma_day.htm). For air quality information, visit EPA AirNow at www.enviroflash.info.


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