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[ISDH]Asthma Awareness Highlighted This Month
Start Date: 5/16/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 5/16/2014
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS—For individuals who suffer from asthma, a sudden bout of coughing and wheezing can be an especially scary thing—it could be the sign of an asthma attack, the swelling of airways that can make it extremely difficult to breathe. The key to stopping an asthma attack is recognizing and treating an asthma flare-up early. Hoosiers with asthma are urged to reduce the risk of an asthma attack by avoiding asthma triggers and working with healthcare providers to maintain an asthma action plan.


Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs and causes episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing. Asthma may be viewed as a childhood disease—and it’s one of the most common serious chronic diseases of childhood, but it can be the source of serious health issues for adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), nearly 26 million Americans suffer from asthma. Children are especially susceptible and one out of every 10 school-aged children has asthma in the United States. 


May has been designated as Asthma Awareness Month, a time when public officials, health organizations and patients take action to increase public awareness of asthma and promote asthma diagnosis and treatment. In Indiana, 472,000 adults and 151,000 children have asthma. Asthma is more likely to affect African-Americans, Hispanics and people living in poverty because of poor housing conditions, which contribute to asthma exacerbations.


“Asthma is not just a childhood disease, it affects many Hoosier adults too,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “The Indiana State Department of Health works closely with the Indiana Chapter of the American Lung Association and the Indiana Joint Asthma Coalition to help raise awareness of asthma and to inform people that even though asthma can be serious, it can be controlled with proper medication and medical attention.”


Asthma is a leading cause of hospital emergency visits for children and adults, and according to the Indiana Department of Education, is the number one reason for school absenteeism in Indiana. There were approximately 30,570 asthma emergency room visits in 2012, an increase of 3.2 percent from 2011, with 7,707 hospitalizations and 73 deaths. The estimated cost of asthma-related emergency department visits was $46 million.


Asthma can be controlled with proper medications and by avoiding the triggers that can cause an attack, like cigarette smoke, pet dander, air pollution or dust mites. Creating and following an asthma action plan helps asthma sufferers to recognize flare-ups and manage medication. It also provides instructions to others about what to do in an emergency situation, such as a severe asthma attack. 


For information about resources to help treat asthma, please call the Indiana Family Helpline at (855) HELP-1ST.


Get involved in Asthma Awareness Month by hosting an event in your local community. For more information and resources, visit the the Indiana State Department of Health website at  or go to the Environmental Protection Agency website at


For important health information and updates, follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at




Contact Information:
Name: Ken Severson
Phone: 317.233.7104
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Family & Health
  • Agency Name
    Health, Indiana State Department of

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