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FOR RELEASE: May 12 , 2005
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Eliminate or Reduce Risk of Asthma Triggers
May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

Did you know in the United States alone, 4.8 million children suffer from asthma? Asthma accounts for one-third of all pediatric emergency room visits, and is the fourth most common reason for pediatric physician office visits, according to public health officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).

“The good news is that you can learn to identify asthma triggers and work to eliminate or reduce your exposure to them,” said Adeline Yerkes, chief, Chronic Disease Service.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease with two main components: inflammation, which is airway swelling and irritation; and bronchoconstriction, which is the tightening of the muscles surrounding the airways. Both cause airways to narrow, making it hard to breathe. Asthma is unpredictable. Symptoms may seem mild or even nonexistent, but they can flare up and become severe at any time. Some common asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

Although there is no known cause for asthma, some of the triggers for it include:

  • Molds and/or pollens
  • Dust mite particles
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Animal dander (flakes from the skin, hair, or feathers of any warm-blooded pet, including dogs, cats, birds, rodents, and horses)
  • Cockroaches
  • Cleaning products
  • Aerosols (hairspray & room deodorizers)
  • Ozone

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. If you have asthma, it is important to remember to take your asthma seriously, take your asthma medications, and if symptoms don't improve, get help from your health care provider to effectively manage and control your asthma.

For more information about asthma, please contact the OSDH Chronic Disease Service Asthma Program at (405) 271-4072 x57105.

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