In May of each year, it is time to "celebrate" asthma and allergies. What? Am I nuts? What do you mean celebrate them? Who wants to do that? Well, perhaps celebrate is not quite the right word, but is a time when people like us who have the disease (or who are parents caring for allergic or asthmatic children) can spread the word, so to speak about these two closely-related chronic diseases.
Each year, the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) asks the President of the United States to officially designate May as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness month in the U.S. It's meant to be a time when you can bring healthy messages about asthma and allergies to work, school and home.
In addition, this is a time when you can help increase public awareness of the asthma epidemic and to take action to get these diseases under control in communities around our entire nation. Hundreds of awareness events will take place across the U.S. this May.
People who are interested in becoming part of this effort could consider joining the Asthma Community Network, an organization trying to mobilize 1000 communities in the U.S. to lead the way in improving the quality of asthma care.
You can get more ideas on how you can participate in this special month in the EPA Event Planning Kit (a downloadable PDF file). You might ask local TV stations or radio stations to do public service announcements about asthma and allergies. Or perhaps you'd like to pass out asthma/allergy information at local sporting events or school functions.
The planning kit mentioned above has tons of ideas for things you could do in and with local schools to raise asthma/allergy awareness, whether your focus is at the grade school, middle school or high school level.
Why is all this important? Well, here are some facts: Today, in the U.S. alone, asthma affects 23 million people, 7 million of which are children. 12 million people had an asthma attack in the last year. It is truly an epidemic health situation. It's doubtful that any family in the U.S. does not have at least one member affected by asthma and/or allergies.
It's also important, though, to understand that asthma can be controlled. With the right treatment, almost every person who has asthma can expect to be able to live a daily life without limits and without asthma symptoms. Unfortunately, not everyone gets the treatment they need to keep their asthma under control. The same can be said for allergies, as well.
So the purpose of Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month is to get the word out that asthma, though an incurable, chronic disease, is controllable. People with asthma can lead healthy, productive lives. So, if you'd like to become part of the answer to asthma and allergies, then take steps to get involved!
Published On: May 03, 2010