Today is World Asthma Day, and May is Asthma Awareness Month. The entire month is dedicated to raising public awareness of asthma, a growing chronic and life-threatening disease that affects more than 25 million people nationwide and, according to the World Health Organization, 235 million people around the world. In the U.S., public health events and activities will be taking place throughout the month as part of the national health observance. Here is a preview of what to expect.
In early May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will release “Asthma’s Impact on the Nation,” a report based on its Asthma Call Back Survey data, describing the public health impact of asthma in the U.S., particularly in the 34 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., currently funded by CDC for asthma surveillance, interventions and partnerships. In addition, the agency will release reports on trends in asthma prevalence, health care use and mortality in the United States; on asthma death rates by age and race; and on work-related asthma.
Save the date: CDC will host a Twitter chat with Chris Portier, director of CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, on asthma on May 15. You can participate via the hashtag #CDCasthma. CDC will also feature Facebook pages devoted to asthma that will be linked both to Asthma Awareness Month in general and to “Asthma’s Impact on the Nation,” in particular.
On May 10, the Allergy and Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics, a CDC partner, will host their annual Allergy and Asthma Day Capitol Hill event at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.
In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Institutes of Health have a host of activities planned. EPA has developed a new online “Asthma Community Network” designed to help community-based asthma programs and organizations that sponsor them as well as an events calendar highlighting the many local and regional events being held during Asthma Awareness Month. NIH will host a webinar titled Regional Perspectives: Bridging Asthma Disparities through Education on Tuesday, May 8, from 12-1:30 p.m. EDT. They also plan to host a second webinar later in the month promoting the use of Asthma Action Plans.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute is encouraging health providers, partners and people with asthma to team up to promote the use of a tailored, written asthma action plan as part of a comprehensive approach to asthma care. According to the institute, only about one in three people with asthma has a written plan to help guide their asthma management.