Source: CVDaily Feed

SALT LAKE CITY – The word “asthma” may bring to mind an image of a sick child with an inhaler, but in reality asthma affects about one in 12 Americans – and kills about 30 people in Utah every year.

Creating more awareness about asthma is the goal of National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, held each May. Andrea Jensen, an environmental health educator with the Utah County Health Department, says asthma is the number one chronic illness among children.

“Oftentimes, if you have a child that has to stay home from school with asthma, that means that mom and or dad have to stay home and miss work,” she says. “So not only is it physically very frightening when you can’t breathe, there’s also an economic impact.”

Jensen says there is no cure for asthma, which can be genetic or developed at any point in life. She says people with asthma should see their doctor at least twice annually and be on medication if necessary. Jensen says the medication regimen can be reduced or even eliminated if the asthma is stabilized.

According to the CDC, about 25 million Americans have asthma, up from 20 million in 2001, and approximately 10 people die from it each day. According to Jensen, helping others learn about and live with asthma is the result of a lifelong personal struggle.

“I have asthma,” she says. “All three of my children have asthma. They’ve been hospitalized 12 times, I have a son that’s almost died twice and been in ICU. So it’s very impactful as families.”

Jensen adds that asthma-sufferers should try to avoid cigarette smoke, strong perfumes, animals or anything else that can trigger an attack.