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For Release: Sept. 12, 2013 - Pamela Williams, Office of Communications - 405/271-5601

Proper Use of Inhaled Medications Helps People Control Asthma

Asthma is a serious and sometimes deadly disease, for which there is no cure. About 292,000 adult Oklahomans are currently diagnosed with asthma, according to 2012 data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Asthma contributes to more than $1 billion in emergency room costs annually in Oklahoma. Each year, about 50 Oklahomans die as a direct result of asthma.

Asthma can be very unpredictable and is characterized by upper airway inflammation, audible wheezing, tightness in the chest, and shortness of breath.However, with proper treatment, a person with asthma should be able to live a healthy, active life.

In an effort to help reduce the suffering and costs related to asthma, the OSDH Chronic Disease Service’s Asthma Prevention and Control Program has added new information to its web page to instruct patients on the proper use of meter dose inhalers and dry powder inhalers. It also provides statistical and general information about asthma. To view, visit http://okap.health.ok.gov and click the link “How to Use Inhalers.”

“If we can teach more people how to properly recognize their asthma triggers and treat their asthma through education, self-management, and treatment, we can improve their quality of life and reduce emergency room costs significantly,” said Bradon Nave, coordinator of the OSDH Asthma Prevention and Control Program.

An asthma episode or “attack” may be brought on by various “triggers” such as allergens, irritants, and weather changes. Once a person becomes familiar with his or her own triggers, he or she may find self-management of the disease is much more achievable. One common misconception is that people will “outgrow” asthma.  However, when a child is diagnosed with asthma, symptoms may seem more severe than those of an adult because a child’s airways are smaller. Once diagnosed with asthma, a person should continue to consult with his or her medical provider.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, a special asthma awareness event called The Asthma Community Day will be open to the public from 9 a.m. until noon in the atrium of the OU Children’s Center, 1200 Children’s Avenue, Oklahoma City. The event will feature several educational booths including those sponsored by the OSDH Chronic Disease Asthma Prevention and Control Program, the American Lung Association, and the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust.

For more information about asthma or other chronic diseases, visit the OSDH website at https://www.ok.gov/health/, or call the OSDH Chronic Disease Service at (405) 271-4072.

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