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May Is National Asthma And Allergy Awareness Month

May 3, 2016

May is the peak season for spring allergens, which is why the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has declared it to be National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. More than 26 million Americans suffer from asthma, including 6.3 million children. Not only does spring weather make asthma attacks more common, it's also when pollen and seeds are released, causing spring allergies in millions of people. 

With allergies and asthma becoming more common each year, now is the perfect time to learn more about keeping your family safe. There is no cure for allergies or asthma, but it's important to know the symptoms and how to treat them. Severe asthma attacks and allergic reactions can lead to death if not treated properly, so awareness can help save lives!

Allergies And Asthma Affect Millions

Chances are, we all know someone with asthma or allergies. It's estimated that 50 million Americans experience nasal allergies, as many as 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children. Asthma, seasonal allergies, food allergies, skin allergies and other allergies all fit into the category of allergic disease, which is the fifth most common chronic disease for adults in the U.S.

Symptoms Of Asthma

Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children. It affects 8.6 percent of all U.S. children, and it's the leading cause of missed school days. The disease can affect children's lives on a daily basis, but severe asthma episodes can actually lead to death without proper treatment and care.

Asthma causes the airways to become inflamed, making it difficult to breathe. The symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and tightness or pain in the chest. In a severe episode, asthma can be a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. Those who are living with asthma should follow a treatment plan, which may include carrying a fast-acting medication such as an inhaler. It's also important to avoid triggers. These may vary, but they often include pollen, chemicals, smoke, stress, exercise, dust, or extreme changes in weather. 

If you or your child experience any symptoms of asthma, it's important to have a diagnosis. Only a doctor can tell for sure if you have asthma, and they can help form a plan to keep you healthy and safe if you are diagnosed.

Learn More About Allergies

Asthma is just one type of allergic disease. Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a substance that it sees as being harmful. When you come in contact with an allergen, your body will attack the substance with antibodies. Many different substances can cause allergic reactions, including drugs, food, insects, latex, mold, pet dander and pollen.

Oftentimes, allergic reactions will result in uncomfortable symptoms such as watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, hives or a rash. However, allergens can also cause more severe reactions such as trouble breathing or swelling in the mouth or throat. These symptoms are often life-threatening and need to be treated immediately.

The best way to prevent allergic reactions is to avoid allergens. However, that's not always easy. People who have seasonal allergies or are allergic to bees can't just stay inside. Additionally, you can't avoid things that you don't know you're allergic to. If you're not sure, it's a good idea to see a doctor. Tests may include a review of your medical history, a physical exam, and a skin test to identify what you're allergic to.

Living With Allergies And Asthma

Allergies can interfere with your life in a number of ways, but you can still lead a normal, healthy life. If you know you have asthma or allergies, it's crucial to always be prepared. If your treatment plan includes carrying an inhaler or epinephrine pen, always have it with you. Many allergy deaths are preventable when attacks are treated right away. If you or your children have allergies, awareness can help save lives! 

Donate Your Car To Help Local Children

Many children live with critical illnesses every day. Facing multiple doctor's appointments and long treatments makes it hard to just be a kid. However, you can help make a difference for kids facing medical conditions when you donate your car to Wheels For Wishes. Our car donation program benefits children's charities that help make life better for kids in your community. Check with charity benefits in your area, and donate a car to a great cause today!

All you need to do to donate your car is call 1-855-278-9474 or fill out an online car donation form. We take care of all the details!

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