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Asthma Awareness Month

May 2, 2024

Asthma Awareness Month

May is Asthma Awareness Month, a time to educate the public about a chronic condition that affects over 27 million people in the United States. Read on to learn more about the signs of asthma, how it is treated and what you can do to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks.

What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways, creating difficulties in breathing. While the cause of asthma is unclear, it is believed to stem from a complex interaction of environmental and genetic factors. Common triggers include allergens such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander, as well as respiratory infections, smoke and certain medications. Asthma symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition, but potential symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty speaking due to breathlessness

Asthma symptoms are likely to fluctuate over time, with periods of exacerbation (asthma attacks) and remission. Identifying and preventing exposure to asthma triggers can help reduce the frequency of these asthmatic episodes.

What Treatment Options Are Available?

The treatment and management of asthma typically involves a combination of medications and lifestyle changes tailored to the specific needs of the patient. Commonly prescribed treatment options include:

  • Bronchodilators: These medications help relax the muscles around the airways, making it easier to breathe and providing quick relief during asthma attacks. Bronchodilators are often delivered through nebulizers or inhalers.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs: Corticosteroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce airway inflammation, which aids in preventing asthma symptoms and exacerbations over time.
  • Allergy shots: Also known as immunotherapy, allergy shots may be recommended to desensitize the immune system to certain allergens in those with allergic asthma. This treatment method can not only help mitigate asthma symptoms, but it can also potentially reduce the need for asthma medication.
  • Biologic therapies: In some cases of severe asthma that do not respond to other treatment methods, biologic therapies targeting specific immune pathways may be prescribed to help reduce inflammation and improve symptoms.

Common lifestyle changes that are recommended to patients with asthma include avoiding known allergens when possible, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly (under medical supervision).

Can Asthma Be Prevented?

While asthma cannot be completely cured, several preventive measures can help reduce the risk of asthma attacks and improve overall respiratory health.

  • Develop an asthma action plan: Work with a healthcare provider to identify and minimize exposure to asthma triggers. Put together a personalized asthma action plan that outlines steps to take during an asthma attack and provides guidance on medication use.
  • Monitor symptoms: Keep an eye on asthma symptoms and peak flow measurements (a test that measures how well air moves out of the lungs) to detect changes early and adjust treatment as deemed necessary by a provider.
  • Create asthma-friendly environments: Take steps to ensure that indoor environments are clean and well-ventilated, such as installing air purifiers and using allergen-proof covers on mattresses and pillows.
  • Get vaccinated: Annual flu shots and pneumococcal vaccines can help lower the risk of respiratory infections that can lead to asthma exacerbations.

Asthma is a chronic condition that requires lifelong management, but with the right treatment and action plan, patients can lead fulfilling lives without the frequent disruption of asthma symptoms.

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of asthma, talk to an experienced provider at Midwest Express Clinic. With over 40 locations open every day, we offer walk-in care for asthma sufferers, ensuring fast and professional treatment without needing an appointment. To find an urgent care near you, visit

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