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Learn if Asthma or Exercise is Taking Your Breath Away

Nationwide Program Launches Free Asthma Screenings During National Asthma Awareness Month

Asthma image

The nation’s allergists help adults and children learn if they are at risk for asthma or exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) as the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology conducts its 15th annual Nationwide Asthma Screening Program.

The program, which launches in May during National Asthma Awareness Month, offers free screenings at more than 200 locations across the country for people who have symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath that occur frequently, during exercise, or at night.

“Many people who cough at night or get short of breath when they exercise don’t think they are at risk for conditions like asthma or EIB,” says allergist John Winder, MD, chair of the ACAAI Nationwide Asthma Screening Program. “But these symptoms shouldn’t be taken lightly, and anyone who experiences breathing problems should attend a free screening to see an allergist who can help identify the source of their suffering.”

The screenings also offer people already diagnosed with asthma the chance to see if their condition is under control and can direct people who may have other breathing conditions.

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.

“Asthma and EIB don’t have to slow anyone down or keep them from having an active lifestyle,” says Dr. Winder. “Both conditions can be controlled, and the first step is diagnosis and treatment, including medication. If you have breathing problems and don’t know the cause or want to make sure you have good control of your asthma or EIB, attend a free screening and find the relief you need.”

Allergists conduct the free asthma screenings at shopping malls, civic centers, health fairs, and other locations throughout the country. The screenings also offer people already diagnosed with asthma the chance to see if their condition is under control and can direct people who may have other breathing conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, to seek professional diagnosis. During a screening, adults complete a 20-question Life Quality Test developed by the ACAAI. 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 Kids’ Asthma Check is available for parents of children up to 8 years of age to complete on their child’s behalf.

Participants take a lung function test that involves blowing into a tube and 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 Life Quality Test and Kids’ Asthma Check, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org.

This article was originally published in Coping® with Allergies & Asthma magazine, March/April 2011.