World Asthma Day is May 2nd
DPHHS Asthma Control Program offers tool and resources to help Montanas
Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) officials say that about 1 in 11 people in Montana currently have asthma. Further, 6 out of 10 adults and children with asthma report symptoms suggesting their asthma is not in control.
However, the DPHHS Asthma Control Program is working with certified asthma educators and other health care providers, childcare professionals, home visitors, and community members across the state to help people better understand how to make changes in their day-to-day life to control their asthma.
These are changes such as accessing quality, guidelines-based care for asthma, gaining skills to improve inhaler technique, developing an Asthma Action Plan with a primary care provider to outline what medications to use when, and identifying what triggers asthma and how to remove triggers from home, work, or school.
According to Sarah Brokaw of the Asthma Control Program, the key is learning how to self-manage the disease. “It is important that a person knows their triggers, how to use their medications, and knows how to respond early to an attack,” she said. “The Montana Asthma Control Program strives to help Montanans have better control of their disease and better quality of life.”
DPHHS partners with local health care providers statewide to provide services to local communities. These efforts include raising awareness about this important issue. “Asthma is very common, and it needs to be treated, not ignored,” said Helyna Kretske of the Flathead City-County Health Department. “Education through awareness can empower a person, increase their adherence to their inhaler use, improve their health, and maybe even save their life.”
There are many things that can trigger an asthma attack, including cigarette smoke, smoke from fires, strong fumes or odors, chemicals, colds or the flu, cold air, and strong emotions. Other common triggers include allergies to pollens, molds, and pet dander, as well as the outdoor air quality.
May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month and May 2 is World Asthma Day. For more information about Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, please visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America website at www.aafa.org. A toolkit with information for people with asthma, schools, public health practitioners, and others is at www.cdc.gov/asthma/world_asthma_day.htm.
Awareness of air quality is especially important for people living with asthma as Montana approaches wildfire season. Individuals can learn more about air quality in their community by visiting the website maintained by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality at svc.mt.gov/deq/todaysair.
To contact the Montana Asthma Control Program or to learn more about asthma activities in Montana communities go to dphhs.mt.gov/asthma.