Be Better Prepared this National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month!

Be Better Prepared this National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month!

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month!

AAFA_NAAAM_14Each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) declares May to be “National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.” It’s a peak season for asthma and allergy sufferers, and a perfect time to educate your patients, family, friends, co-workers and others about these diseases.

Important Dates

  • May 6 – World Asthma Day
  • May 11-17 – Food Allergy Awareness Week

Awareness Month Events and Fundraisers

There are several events and fundraisers planned, both online and local events.

Some of the local events include: 

Online events: 

  • Sweepstakes – each month, AAFA hosts an online Sweepstakes to give away Certified asthma & allergy friendly™ products. Visit www.aafa.org/sweepstakes to see what Sweepstakes are currently open.
  • Webinar (May 1) – Join the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a free webinar, Closing the Gap: Addressing Asthma Disparities in Schools, to learn how two programs used a comprehensive, partnership-based approach to reduce the burden of asthma in their school systems.
  • Webinar (May 20) – Join Kids With Food Allergies, AAFA’s food allergy division, on May 20 for a live discussion about dairy-free alternatives.

Conferences:

  • May 18 (San Diego, CA) – As part of the American Thoracic Society’s 2014 International Conference, patients will have the chance to Meet-the-Experts” at a public forum featuring lung health experts.
  • May 28-30 (Nashville, TN)— Join the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and Rebuilding Together at the 2014 National Healthy Homes Conference, featuring leaders from the healthy homes industry.

How You Can Help

You can help AAFA in a variety of ways to support asthma and allergy education, advocacy, and research programs.  Every contribution is 100% tax deductible.  Since 1953, AAFA has been the provider of patient-centered information for the more than 60 million people with asthma and allergies in the United States.

Through a gift to AAFA, you can memorialize a person who is no longer with us, or you can celebrate a birthday, anniversary or other milestone to honor a friend or family member who is living with asthma or allergies. Here are a few ways that you can help right away:

Additionally, the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) has a downloadable event planning kit full of great ideas, educational material and resources.  Click here to download the EPA event planning kit.

Prepare for an Asthma or Allergy Emergency

Know Your Triggers

There are many things you can do to prepare yourself in advance for asthma and/or allergy emergencies.  One important thing is to know your allergy or asthma trigger and work to reduce exposure to these items.  While this list is by no means all-inclusive, some common triggers are:

  • Wood smoke
  • Second hand smoke
  • Pets
  • Molds
  • Cockroaches and pests
  • Dust mites
  • Chemical irritants
  • Outdoor pollution
  • Pollens
  • Certain foods or food groups

Keep Rescue Medications Accessible.

If you are asthmatic, always have an albuterol inhaler on hand.  Place these “rescue inhalers” in a variety of locations so you can get to them easily: in your gym bag, at work, and in several places at home.  If there are other rescue medications that you need during an asthma attack, such as steroid tablets, keep those with you as well.

Allergies can also cause anaphylaxis — a severe, life-threatening reaction, which requires treatment with an epinephrine (adrenaline) shot and a trip to the emergency room.  EpiPen is an epinephrine auto-injector prescribed for the emergency treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions  caused by allergens, exercise, or unknown triggers; and for people who are at increased risk for these reactions.  People with severe allergies should always carry and EpiPen or similar epinephrine auto-injector.

Wear a Medical ID

In case the unthinkable happens, you should always wear an allergy or asthma medical ID bracelet, depending upon your needs.  It should list important information such as allergies, all medications taken on an ongoing basis, and an emergency contact.  It can be useful to include your name in a situation where you may not be able to talk. Having an allergy or asthma bracelet will let the medical staff know how to make the appropriate medical decisions that can save your life. In case you’re in an accident, medical professionals will know what your likely medications are and what not to give you.

Always ensure that you or your loved one is wearing medical ID at all times and especially before leaving the house. If necessary, pack an extra bracelet during special trips, particularly if you will be travelling alone or leaving town for an extended period. Always wear the bracelet where it can be spotted easily and avoid taking it off. There are new styles to fit your personality and wearing it can mean the difference between living a healthy life and suffering serious medical consequences.

 Sources:  EPA, AAFA