Every year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) observes the month of May as the national Asthma and Allergy Awareness month.
May is a peak time for summer and spring allergies that arise due to the abundance of different allergens at that particular time of the year. These allergens trigger attacks of asthma or seasonal allergies that plague sufferers with the problems of itching, sneezing, watery eyes and breathing difficulties. That makes the month of May a perfect time to raise public awareness about such conditions and educate people on how to manage these issues, which medications to take and what not to do.
The Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month is usually observed in conjunction with the World Asthma Day (1st Tuesday in May) and the Food Allergy Awareness Week (beginning from the 2nd Monday in May).
Hope For Those Affected
During the month of May, activists and doctors play a crucial role in spreading more information about allergy and asthma and in urging people to come forward so as to receive medical attention and treatment.
The latest statistics state that about 17 million Americans suffer from asthma. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, individuals belonging to minority or low-income groups face a higher risk of death in case of an asthma attack due to limited access to the right medications. However, the important fact is that although asthma cannot be completely cured, the related symptoms can be effectively controlled.
Asthma attacks are usually triggered by tobacco smoke, allergens, stress or strenuous exercise. If left untreated, a serious attack of asthma can prove to be life-threatening. However, with adequate medical attention, a healthcare provider will be able to devise a suitable treatment plan that would allow an asthma patient to remain active and healthy.
Allergies affect more than 50 million Americans today. A person suffering from allergies are acutely sensitive to substances that are usually harmless to a normal person. These substances include pollen, mold spores, weeds, dust mites, animal dander and grasses. Although allergies cannot be completely cured, the symptoms can be controlled by reducing exposure to the allergy-causing substances.
During the Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month in May, people can attend asthma screenings being organized at hundreds of locations across the country. These free screenings help adults and children know if their wheezing, breathing difficulties or chronic coughing indicates at asthma. People diagnosed with asthma can attend these screenings and meet healthcare providers to get advice on proper management of their symptoms.
Activities Held During Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month
The nation-wide efforts to raise awareness about the problems of asthma and allergies may take on different forms as follows:
- Hosting asthma awareness activities in schools, community health centers or libraries.
- Distributing flyers, booklets or newsletters on asthma and allergy management.
- Holding community meetings to educate adults on the connection between second-hand smoke and asthma.
- Conducting seminars to educate people on traditional, natural and new methods of treatments.
- Garnering public attention for awareness campaigns with the collaboration of celebrities or well-known leaders.
- Setting up screening centers to encourage timely diagnosis and treatment.
Today, with the advances in the field of medicine, nothing must stand in the way of enjoying a healthy, active life. This is true in the case of asthma and allergy sufferers too. With the right diagnosis, proper treatment and effective medications, there are no limitations to what asthma and allergy sufferers can do. This is the spirit embraced by the Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month — to continue searching for cures to treat asthma and allergies and help sufferers ease their symptoms with the minimum of medication.