Free Nationwide Asthma Screening Programs

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Are you at risk for asthma? Allergists will conduct free screenings as part of the 14th annual Nationwide Asthma Screening Program.

These free screening will take place at more than 200 locations across the country. Most will occur during May, National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, but a few are taking place this month such as the one at J.A. Walters YMCA in Gainesville, Georgia on April 17 from 10am – 2pm. Another taking place this Saturday, April 17, will occur in Rogers, Arkansas at the Beaux & Belles Kids Expo, John Q Hammonds Center from 10am – 3pm.

More than 23 million Americans, including 7 million children, have asthma. The disease is responsible for almost 4,000 deaths a year. The exact cause of asthma is unknown, but many treatments are available to control this chronic inflammation of the airways in the lungs.

Adults and children who have symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath that occur frequently, during exercise or even just at night, can find out if they are at risk for asthma through the free screening program.

The program, sponsored by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) with support from Teva Respiratory, LLC, has screened an estimated 119,000 people and referred more than half for further diagnosis.

An asthma attack is often triggered by allergens such as pollen, dust and animal dander, certain drugs and food additives, respiratory infections and physical exertion such as exercise.

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This year, ACAAI members are paying special attention to those who have difficulty breathing during or immediately after exercise and may have a condition called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB).

When people exercise, they often breathe rapidly through their mouth instead of their nose which warms and humidifies air. As a result, the cold, dry air that reaches the bronchial tubes can trigger asthma symptoms. These symptoms typically occur within five to 15 minutes from the start of exercise and may occur for several minutes after exercise has stopped. Between 80 percent to 90 percent of all people with asthma suffer some degree of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.

“With the right diagnosis and treatment, including medication, anyone with asthma can be active,” said Dr. Winder. “No one should accept anything less. If you’ve experienced these symptoms or just want to make sure you have good control of your asthma, attend a free screening and find relief.”

During a screening, adults complete a 20-question Life Quality (LQ) Test developed by ACAAI for the program. Children under age 15 take a special test called the Kids’ Asthma Check that allows them to answer questions themselves about any breathing problems. Another version of the Check is available for parents of children up to 8 years of age to complete on their child’s behalf.

Participants also take a lung function test that involves blowing into a tube, and then meet with an allergist to determine if they should seek a thorough examination and diagnosis.

For a list of asthma screening locations and dates or to take online versions of the LQ Test and Kids’ Asthma Check, visit www.AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org

Sources
Allergy and Asthma Relief Organization
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

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