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May is Asthma Awareness Month (Global)

posted May 26, 2011, 3:27 PM by Nancy Swan   [ updated May 28, 2011, 2:27 PM ]

In the United States, it is easy to start asthma awareness activities in our communities, cities and states.  It is much harder to get US Congressmen and Presidential participation in or recognition of Asthma Awareness Month.   One out of ten children have asthma, with a higher numbers among economic disadvantaged and minority children. 

Although U. S. medical professionals and government agencies recognize asthma as life-threatening disease, treatable by pharmaceutical products, there is little recognition as to what causes asthma and no recognition that includes regulation, investigation, nor enforcement harmful environmental and chemical conditions known to cause and trigger asthma attacks. 

A parent emailed me that her asthmatic children were constantly threatened by their next door neighbor burning trash (without the required permit), and fumes from paints and solvents used during the day.  There was no one to investigate and the city refused to enforce "no burning" regulations.  Last year, her young son passed out at school and had to be rushed to the emergency room.  Even though his teacher knew he was asthmatic, the child had been required to run laps in an unventilated gym that had just been re-floored with polyurethane paints and sealants.  Parents of the schoolchildren were never informed, nor warned that asthma provoking chemicals were present at the school.

I have an asthma-like condition, permanent restrictive lung disease, resulting from exposure to methyl diphenol isocyanate and toluene diisocyanate.  Both were known to cause asthma causing chemicals in  a spray on foam roofing system (link is not the applicator but example of similar product) applied to the roof of the school where I was teaching. 

Those responsible for child (and adult) safety in places where they live, learn, and play, are not aware of what "asthma" is, what triggers an asthma attack, nor how to prevent attacks.  Many asthma attacks can be prevented by controlling, correcting, or eliminating exposure to environmental and chemical conditions.     Perhaps those who refuse to correct conditions that trigger asthma may have never experienced an asthma attack, a life threatening disease that can cut off airways.  Imagine the panic of not being able to breathe, slowly being strangled into unconsciousness, knowing that without help, you may die.  

Plan a simple by effective asthma awareness program in your country, state, county, city, or community leaders.

    1.  Get support from officials - Submit a resolution or proclamation to Governors, mayors, city and state lawmakers and officials, using suggested proclamation published by the EPA.

    2. Inform the community - Post EPA links of blogs about Asthma, share Asthma Community Network on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other social network and in organization news. 

    3. Support by attending webnars, conferences, and group forums to promote asthma awareness.

    4.  Asthma Community Network provides links to 

            Find a program near you

            Join the Asthma Community Network

            Explore and read asthma resources

"Asthma Awareness Month is a global effort to help people learn how to control asthma. EPA provides cost-free event planning materials." - www.epa.gov/asthma/awm/index.html

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