May is asthma awareness month. Asthma is one of the most common lifelong chronic diseases. Asthma affects the lungs, causing repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing. There are 146,000 Mainers who currently have asthma and in severe cases, asthma can be deadly.
In Maine, almost 50 percent of adults and 30 percent of children with asthma report their asthma is not well or very poorly controlled. Although asthma cannot be cured, it is possible to manage the disease successfully. Regular medical monitoring, two visits per year with the treating physician, taking asthma medicine as prescribed and avoiding things that may trigger an attack are all successful management strategies.
Common asthma “triggers” include tobacco and wood smoke, household pets, dust mites and pollen. Limit or avoid exposure to these and other triggers whenever possible. Many physicians recommend patients with asthma get a seasonal flu shot every year.
For more information about asthma, please visit Maine CDC's Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Program - Asthma Unit’s webpage at: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/population-health/mat/