Health Alert: National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WDTV) -- May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. It is the peak season for those with asthma and a perfect time to educate family, friends, co-workers, and others about these diseases.

MGN

Joining us is Curt Rockhead, documentation improvement specialist and assistant director of Camp Catch Your Breath (CCYB) at United Hospital Center.

Question: What are the causes of asthma?

Answer: Asthma causes swelling of the airways. This results in narrowing of the airways that carry air from the nose and mouth to the lungs. Allergens or irritants entering the lungs trigger asthma symptoms. These include trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing, and tightness in the chest. Asthma is a serious disease and the result can be permanent lung damage unless early intervention is sought.

Question: I was reading some information about asthma and it is simply stunning to me that 6 million children have asthma. What other statistics can you share concerning this disease and children?

Answer: While you found that statistic surprising, the following numbers may also shock you to know that…

• 8.4% of children have asthma or 1 in 12 children which is higher than in adults

• 6 million children plus under the age of 18 have asthma

• 50% of children who are prescribed asthma control medicines do not use these medications regularly

• $1,000 is the average annual medical costs per child with asthma

• 10 people die each day from asthma

Question: This is the 29th year for Camp Catch Your Breath, so I am sure you are addressing these concerns and statistics at camp.

Answer: Absolutely, parents are reminded daily of the vital role Camp Catch Your Breath plays in the life of their child with severe asthma. This camp for children ages 8-13 is where UHC teaches children and parents to manage asthma by using a personalized action plan, which parents can share with school staff and other caregivers. For many of the children who attend, it is often the first time they have been away from home alone, and also their first chance to enjoy activities that are considered ordinary for other children.

We are honored to mark the 29th year at Camp Catch Your Breath beginning July 21 through July 26 at WVU Jackson’s Mill in Weston. If you know somebody that needs to attend asthma camp please call me 681-342-1560 or go to at app.campdoc.com/register/ccyb.

We greatly appreciate the generosity of our region concerning contributions to camp; however, your continued support is needed to help these children self-manage their disease. So please contact me if you would like to donate to camp.