Each 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.
There are several events and fundraisers planned, both online and local events.
Some of the local events include:
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.
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:
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.