Asthma is one of the most common chronic illnesses in children. About 6% of children in Utah have asthma, which is about 2 children in an average sized classroom. About 8% of adults in Utah have asthma, which is 1 in 12 adults.
The Utah Department of Health wants to raise awareness about the illness, as well as what you can do to avoid exacerbating symptoms in your home.
Andrea Jensen, a certified Asthma Educator with the Utah County Health Department, says you can:
o Use Swiffers to trap dust while you're cleaning (brooms can kick dust up into the air)
o Change your furnace filters
o Keep pets out of the bedroom.
The Utah Department of Health released the following information about this condition:
What is asthma?
o Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing at night or early in the morning.
Three things happen in the lungs to cause asthma symptoms:
o Production of mucus
o Muscles contract
How can you reduce asthma symptoms?
o Although asthma cannot be cured, asthma symptoms can be controlled by avoiding or reducing exposure to asthma triggers, getting appropriate medical care, and correctly using asthma medications.
"Many people get used to 'putting up' with asthma symptoms or limiting their activities due to asthma," said Jensen. "Our goal is to help people get the education and medical care they need to live a healthy and active life, not limited by their asthma symptoms."
Kellie Baxter, a specialist with the Asthma program, tells us about the department's Utah Asthma Home Visiting Program - a program to help individuals with asthma and their families learn about asthma and make their home asthma-friendly.
"This free program is available to those with persistent, uncontrolled asthma," Baxter said. "If you have had an urgent care visit, emergency room visit, or hospitalization for asthma in the last year, you qualify. If you have questions on whether you qualify, you can call us or visit our website."
Currently, the program is only offered in Utah County and Salt Lake County. The department says they are currently working with insurance companies to expand where the program is offered. But education materials for the program are available to anyone, located on at health.utah.gov/asthma.