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FOR RELEASE: May 11 , 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

May is Asthma Awareness Month

Asthma is a growing concern for many Oklahomans. With seven percent of Oklahoma adults living with asthma, including more than 77,000 children, the Oklahoma Asthma Initiative is joining the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to participate in Asthma Awareness Month during May.

In recognition of Asthma Awareness Month, the Oklahoma Asthma Initiative and Oklahoma State Department of Health seek to remind people that many people may be at risk for flare-ups of lung disease due to high pollen levels and/or outdoor air pollution that can reach unhealthy levels any day.

As Oklahomans prepare to go outdoors to enjoy the warmer weather, it is important to remember that asthma attacks can be triggered by several factors, which may include allergic reactions to pollen, mold, and other allergens; exercise; particle pollution (from diesel exhaust, dust, power plants, and other sources); and smog.

The below “Healthy Lung Checklist” should be followed before engaging in any outdoor activities.

  • Know the pollen level. Check the newspaper, weather Web sites, or television for local updates. Take prescribed medications to minimize allergy symptoms.
  • Check local air pollution levels online (www.epa.gov/airnow), in the newspaper or television. Follow specific health warnings.
  • Bring your rescue inhaler (bronchodilator such as albuterol) with you.
  • Take your rescue inhaler before exercising, if your doctor has prescribed that you do so.
  • Pay close attention to children! Be sure they take breaks and drink plenty of liquids, and that children with asthma are not experiencing symptoms of an asthma attack.
  • Limit outdoor exercise during Orange and Red air pollution days on the Air Quality Index (www.epa.gov/airnow).

For more information about asthma, visit this Web site http://www.asthmaok.org.

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