May: Bringing Awareness to Asthma and Allergies
May is an exciting time of the year, from celebrating Mother’s Day to enjoying outdoor barbeques and freshly bloomed flowers, all of which signify the true beginning of spring. However, there is another reason why May is such an important month - it doubles as Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.
With over 60 million people in the United States having one of these conditions, it’s likely that you or a loved one is directly affected. To help raise awareness of allergies and asthma during this month and always, we are highlighting the history of National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, some tips you can try to help you get through the month, and new promising research to manage these conditions.
History of Awareness
National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month has been celebrated for over three decades. It was first recognized by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America in 1984, to bring attention and education to these conditions. Out of the over 60 million Americans who have asthma and allergies, approximately 25 million have asthma, 32 million have food allergies, and 21 million have hay fever, rhinitis, or nasal allergies.
In addition to the health concerns raised by these conditions, there are also social repercussions as well. For instance, asthma and allergies are the leading causes of hospital visits and missed school days for children. Similarly, they are also the leading cause of adults missing work.
But why May? The month of May is at the peak of asthma and allergy season due to prolonged winter snows and spring beginning later in the year. Due to these climate patterns, both grass and tree pollen are prevalent during the month, making it the perfect time to spread awareness and support those living with these conditions.
As more awareness spreads around allergies and asthma, there are some ways in which you or a loved one can find relief from these conditions. This includes lifestyle changes such as reducing outdoor exposure, preventing pollen from coming into your home by changing your clothes and showering, and removing pollen from the air around you through the use of air purifiers. For more information and expanded explanation on these tricks, visit our recent April Gunk of the Month blog, which tackles pollen specifically.
Is There Any Relief?
Recent studies have identified and highlighted ways air filters can help improve breathing in those living with asthma and allergies. Specifically, a new study tested the effects of air filters in children's bedrooms and if it helped improve breathing. The results showed that an air filter was capable of removing fine particulate matter and this resulted in a 24% reduction in airway resistance, a 73% increase in airway elasticity and a 28% reduction in exhaled nitric oxide. Currently, clinical trials are confirming the finding, which could conclude that air filters can help those with asthma and allergies manage their condition.
This May, support National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month by helping drive awareness and education around the conditions. This can be done within your home, community, or checking in on those who are living with asthma and allergies.
Not sure where to get started? Try sharing the strategies for finding relief outlined above with those who may be struggling. You can also visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to tell your story, participate in clinical trials, attend virtual events, and more. If there are other tips you find helpful in spreading awareness or finding relief during allergy season, tell us on our Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram channels!