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Asthma is a condition that affects about 25 million Americans, including 7.7% of adults and 8.5% of children. Asthma used to carry a stigma about how active someone with the condition could be, but people with asthma can live an active life as long as they are aware of their symptoms and environmental triggers, and know how to manage their medications.
Pollen, mold, air pollution, pet dander and indoor pests such as dust mites are common symptom triggers for asthma. Severe weather emergencies impact people with asthma as they need to consider their medication in case of evacuation. Environmental disasters such as wildfires can wreak havoc on asthma since smoke particles cause air quality to worsen. People with asthma should monitor air quality and be sure to include stress management, healthy diet and exercise in their daily lives.
People with asthma can control their symptoms and keep themselves safe by following their Asthma Action Plan created in partnership with their doctor. Quick-relief asthma inhalers can help relieve symptoms that occur at any time, while maintenance medications control symptoms daily. Biologic medications are increasingly used to address severe asthma. Getting the flu shot every year and practicing good hygiene, especially when around large groups during cold and flu season, is always a good idea. Eating healthy and getting moderate exercise, as well as practicing stress-relieving activities like yoga and meditation, can also help protect people with asthma. Keeping an emergency kit that includes extra asthma medication and devices, copies of medical records and prescription refill information, respirator masks, a list of contacts and a medication plan in preparation for speaking with doctors or other healthcare providers is also useful.
Allergy & Asthma Network hosts the USAsthma Summit every year to raise understanding about the chronic condition among community health workers and representatives from asthma programs from all over the country. They discuss strategies, guidelines and programs for asthma management as well as the latest clinical lessons and practices.