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[ISDH]State Health Officials Encourage Awareness and Action During World Asthma Month
Start Date: 5/15/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 5/15/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS—Nearly 25 million Americans suffer from asthma, a disease that affects the lungs and causes episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing. Children are especially susceptible and one out of every 10 school-aged children has asthma in the United States. Asthma is one of the most common serious chronic diseases of childhood.

May is Asthma Awareness Month, when public officials, health organizations and patients take action to increase public awareness of asthma and promote asthma diagnosis and treatment. In Indiana, 472,000 adults and 151,000 children have asthma. Asthma is more likely to affect African-Americans, Hispanics and people living in poverty.

“Asthma is a serious condition that is unfortunately prevalent around the world and largely thought of as a childhood disease when in fact it is not,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “Asthma Awareness Month highlights the message that asthma affects people of all ages. We have been working closely with the Indiana Chapter of the American Lung Association to raise awareness and let people know that although serious, asthma can be controlled with proper medication and medical attention.”

Asthma is a leading cause of hospital emergency visits for children and adults, and according to the Indiana Department of Education, is the number one reason for school absenteeism in Indiana. There were approximately 29,414 asthma emergency room visits in 2011, a decrease of 2.5 percent from the year before and 8,357 hospitalizations. The estimated economic cost attributed to asthma-related hospitalization in Indiana was $122 million in 2009, while the estimated cost of asthma-related emergency department visits was $46 million.

Asthma can be controlled with proper medications and avoiding the triggers that can cause an attack, like cigarette smoke, pet dander, air pollution or dust mites. Creating and following an asthma action plan helps asthma sufferers to recognize flare-ups and manage medication. It also provides instructions to others about what to do in an emergency situation, such as a severe asthma attack. 

“Every Hoosier suffering from asthma should have an asthma action plan and keep it on file in the school or workplace,” said Dr. VanNess.  “Having a plan in place is critical during a severe asthma attack because it provides medical protocols specific to the individual. This plan should be created with your health care provider and be specific to you.”

Get involved in Asthma Awareness Month by hosting an event in your local community. For more information and resources, visit the asthma home page on the Indiana State Department of Health website at http://www.in.gov/isdh/24965.htm, or the EPA website at www.epa.gov/asthma/awareness.html.

 

Contact Information:
Name: Ken Severson
Phone: 317.233.7104
Email: kseverson@isdh.in.gov
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Entry Type:
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Entry Category:
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  • IN.gov Category:
  • Family & Health
  • Agency Name
    Health, Indiana State Department of

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