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Asthma Action Plan Can Save Lives
Updated May 4, 2016 5:45 AM | Filed under: Health
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - For many individuals, a troubling cough is a common uneventful occurrence. But for those who suffer from asthma, it can be life-threatening.

May has been designated Asthma Awareness Month to remind the public about asthma and the problems it can create. Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs that affects more than 17.7 million adults and more than 7.4 million children in the United States. Asthma causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and early morning or nighttime cough. Factors such as tobacco smoke, air pollution, pet dander or dust mites can trigger an asthma attack, causing the sides of the lungs to swell and airways to shrink, reducing one's ability to breathe.

"As someone with asthma, I've learned that the best way to prevent a severe attack is to recognize the symptoms and treat flare-ups quickly," said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. "I urge all Hoosiers with asthma to work with their healthcare providers to identify asthma triggers and to complete an asthma action plan."

An estimated 429,000 Indiana adults and 108,000 children report having asthma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children are most susceptible to asthma, and one in 11 school-age children in Indiana has the disease. Asthma claims the life of one person every five days in Indiana; 59 percent of those deaths occur among people age 64 and younger.

Having an asthma treatment plan, known as an action plan, created with physicians to control asthma can save lives. An action plan lists an asthma patient's daily treatment or medications and when they should be administered. It also describes how to control asthma long-term and how to handle worsening symptoms or attacks. The plan also outlines when a doctor should be called and when to go to the emergency room. The asthma action plan is especially important for children and should contain all of the information caregivers need to ensure asthmatic children receive adequate care.

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