Every May, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unites organizations across the U.S. in raising asthma awareness, working to get asthma under control, and improving asthmatics’ quality of life. Over 300 million people worldwide have asthma, and 15 million die each year from asthma-related complications or early death, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Asthma Month also reminds us to be aware of common asthma triggers and to be conscientious of how our behavior can affect asthmatics. Tobacco smoke is a well-known trigger, but irritants like strong perfumes and cleaning chemicals can even trigger an asthma attack. NIH-supported scientists are researching and developing a better understanding of how asthma is affected by exposure to allergens (asthma triggers), pollution and microbes. This type of research will help asthmatics better understand which triggers affect them, and how to improve their asthma management plans.
Many communities are also hosting Asthma Month events, like World Asthma Day and Happy Food Allergy Awareness Week. This year’s theme for World Asthma Day is “You can control your asthma,” and organizations are participating in the event by hosting Twitter chats with doctors, promoting educational materials about asthma triggers and management plans, and providing tools to share information about asthma.
Interested in local Asthma Month information and activities? Check out the North Carolina Asthma Program for resources about asthma triggers in residential environments, information for coaches about how asthma affects athletic performance, and more.
- Stephanie Carson, “Breathing Easier: May is Asthma Awareness Month,” Public News Service
- “Asthma in North Carolina Fact Sheet,” NC Asthma Program