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Thursday, May 30, 2019

How does asthma affect Americans?

Image courtesy of Allergy & Asthma Network

Don't you hate it when people say "It's just asthma?" For those of you with asthma, you know it's anything but a simple disease!

Allergy & Asthma Network created infographics to show the impact of asthma and allergies on people in America. I'll just talk about asthma today.

You can see that:

25 million people have asthma in America
We add to that number - our family of 5 has 4 of that battle asthma!

1 in 10 kids have asthma
That's an average of 2 students per classroom with asthma. That's just an average - one year in my daughter's class, there were 7 kids with asthma (including her) in her elementary school classroom.
Did you know that asthma is also the most common chronic disease among children and the #1 cause of missed school days!? 
$80 billion spent on asthma
Don't I know it! We spend a lot of money at the pharmacy, doctor's office, Urgent Care, etc. 

3,168 people die every year in the US from asthma 
Yes, people actually die from asthma! In fact, approximately 10 people die EVERY day in the U.S. from asthma. By the time you go to bed tonight, 10 people will have died from asthma. 

13.8 million missed school days 
Ever had a kid fall behind in math class? Or science? Or have one of those awful gym teachers that won't let them make up gym class because they were struggling to breathe?

14.2 million missed work days 
You can miss work when you are struggling with asthma, or because you have a sick kiddo at home that it is having a tough time breathing. Or is in the hospital battling asthma and pneumonia.
Hubby missed a lot of work when our kids were little and in the hospital. I can remember him sitting by our son's bedside in the hospital with his laptop, trying to meet a deadline at work. 
3 in 5 limit their physical activity 
Ever skip the stairs and take the elevator? Some days our lungs are just cranky.
71% misuse their inhalers

Think your are using your inhaler right? Check your technique here to make sure you aren't missing anything! 

1 in 5 can't afford their inhalers
Are you in this group? If so, read my article about Coupons for Prescriptions.
Just because you have asthma doesn't mean you can't have a good quality of life. Call your doc if you are struggling, there are a lot of new inhalers that have been released. Keep trying until you find one that works for you!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Allergy & Asthma Day on Capitol Hill!

See this group of amazing people? I was lucky to be part of this group of professionals who are passionate about educating others with allergies and asthma. 

They are my people! 

We can talk about allergies and asthma - all day long! (My family usually tunes me out after awhile. There she goes again - helping someone else!)

Each of these people have their own story of how their life is impacted by allergies and asthma. If you have been reading my blog for very long, you probably know our story.

Our journey began 19 years ago with the first of many hospitalizations for Son #2 and daughter Kitty. Asthma education wasn't as easy to find back then, and Asthma Doc struggled to find the right treatment for my kids. If my kids caught a cold, it always turned into pneumonia and that meant another hospitalization in the pediatric ward. We also learned that smoke from forest fires are NOT good for those with asthma. Pneumonia and smoke from forest fires caused 12 hospitalizations for Son #2 and Kitty. We finally were able to control Son #2's asthma with 7 years of monthly biologic injections to control his severe asthma.

 Son #1 and I were also diagnosed with asthma. So, we have are a family of 5 - all 5 have allergies, and 4 have asthma (you could say we don't have the best genetics.....) 

Our lives have revolved around doctor visits, twice weekly allergy shots, monthly biologic injections, and epinephrine auto injectors for food allergies. Urgent Care clinics, Emergency Department visits and hospital stays were also common.

We have also made environmental changes to our home to make it allergy and asthma.

We buy allergy pills, nose sprays and tissues in bulk at the warehouse store, and also are frequent visitors to the pharmacy. 

I also switched careers (and went back to college for another degree!) so I could work in a profession as a Certified Asthma Educator. 

This is our life

But we are the lucky ones. We are able to make changes to our home to make it allergy and asthma friendly. We have insurance and can afford to see a specialist and buy our medications (but we still use manufacturer coupons!)   

We joined others in lifting our voices to educate our legislators  during Allergy & Asthma Day on Capitol Hill (sponsored by Allergy & Asthma Network.)  

The meetings went well, and our legislators were truly interested in learning about the problems  allergies and asthma cause, and how they can help.

Want to be involved?

It's not too late! Allergy & Asthma Network has a web page with everything you need. You can see the advocacy issues, download graphics, etc. Or - go straight to their Virtual Advocacy page

  Your voice can make a difference! Get involved!


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Asthma Awareness Month!

May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month!

I am one of the 60 million people in the U.S. who have allergies and asthma. So are my 3 adult kids. Sigh.

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has a new campaign out.This ties in nicely with my last post about how I don't want to be called "asthmatic" because this disease doesn't define me. I am so much more than just someone with asthma!

AAFA says:

"This year, our focus is on raising awareness about how asthma and allergies are more than just a physical condition. They impact every aspect of life. But they don't have to define you."

AAFA is sponsoring a "More Than Asthma" campaign. They are asking people with asthma to snap a photo that "shows how you overcome asthma barriers and live life fully."

They are hoping it will help with misconceptions that people have about asthma (you know......the sickly kid in gym class sucking on his inhaler.)

You can upload your photo to their website and score some sweet prizes!

 The contest ends on May 31st, so start snapping those pics. Let's show the world how strong we are and how much we do - even with asthma!