National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month
May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness month. This time of recognition and awareness is important to me considering the fact that I am a 44 year-old African-American woman who has dealt with asthma and allergies all of my life. My family and I are quite familiar with this disease in that my grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins as well as my own two children have all been diagnosed with some form of allergies and asthma.
Asthma is a chronic disease of the lung airways. When someone is having an asthma attack, their airways become inflamed and narrow as a result of reacting to "certain triggers", making it extremely hard for that individual to breath.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 3 million African-Americans have asthma. As a result of several risk factors which include poverty, poor housing and the inability to access quality healthcare, African-Americans are three times more likely to die from asthma-related illness than their white counterparts. Asthma is also the leading reason why kids miss school.
Although there is no cure for this disease, people with chronic asthma can have productive lives by taking the necessary steps to keep asthma under control.