May is Asthma Allergy Awareness Month

May is National Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month! We at Harbor Community Benefit Foundation want to keep you best informed on asthma wellness and management.

Asthma is a chronic lung condition that causes difficulty with breathing. When someone has an asthma attack, swelling throughout the airway occurs, leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, or even a feeling of tightness in the chest area. There are a number of triggers such as dust, pollen, pollution, tobacco, strenuous exercise, infections like flu and the common cold. Even extra humidity can contribute to someone experiencing asthma symptoms. The California Department of Public Health has reported an increase in asthma rates over the past 30 years. On an annual basis, 40,000 California residents are hospitalized due to asthma.

Education on effective asthma management can help to increase awareness and improve the lives of those with asthma. There are organizations serving the residents of Wilmington – San Pedro harbor area by engaging adults and children with asthma and their families. For example, through HCBF’s Healthy Harbor Communities Initiative, Memorial Medical Care/Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma was awarded funds to expand LBACA’s Asthma Intervention, Education and Outreach Program and serve vulnerable children with asthma living in San Pedro or Wilmington. Through this program, Community Health Workers will enroll 40 children with uncontrolled asthma and their families and conduct 3-4 virtual home visits to educate about proper asthma management to improve asthma-related health outcomes.

Consistent asthma management at home is essential to reducing asthma triggers. Some strategies may include:

1. Keeping your home environment dry will reduce the growth of mold spores that thrive off of damp surfaces. Utilizing bathroom or room fans and using a dehumidifier and air conditioner will also help circulate the air.

2. Keeping surfaces clean, frequently changing bedding and using allergen impermeable covers. This will also eliminate any presence of pests, which can also be triggers for asthma.

3. Monitor the air that is within the house. If you are cleaning, try using natural cleaners with less toxins, and make sure to open windows. If there are outdoor fires or increased air pollution at that time, make sure the house is closed up and that you use indoor ventilation. Ensure that any fuel-burning appliances in the home are properly vented.

Please be sure to your doctor or a medical professional to see what treatment plan is right for you and how to mitigate attacks.

Some Helpful Resources:

CDC – Asthma Management & Treatment

California Department of Public Health – Asthma

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health – Asthma