How many people do you know with asthma? As you may know, asthma affects the airways in the lungs, causing difficulty breathing. For some people, asthma is just an inconvenience. But for others, it can interfere with daily activities and lead to a life-threatening asthma attack. May is asthma awareness month, so let’s consider how asthma affects vulnerable children in Mexico and China.
Asthma is a severe chronic health condition, but medication can control the symptoms. The airways in the lungs narrow and swell and sometimes may produce extra mucus. This makes breathing difficult, with symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Symptoms can flare up when triggered by exercise, workplace allergens, other environmental allergens, or respiratory viruses. There are long-term and short-term health effects of asthma.
When asthma is uncontrolled, the frequency or severity of asthma attacks increases. Each severe episode can cause damage to the lungs and can cause death. Short-term effects include sleep difficulties, physical inactivity, obesity, and an increased risk for respiratory illnesses. For a child, these symptoms make it harder to learn in school.
Myths and the Truth About Asthma
Myth: Asthma is a childhood disease that is usually outgrown. Truth: While asthma usually starts in childhood, it is rarely outgrown. Allergens which are triggers in childhood, typically remain for life.
Myth: Asthma is not a big deal and is easily controlled. Truth: All asthma is serious, and a flare can become life-threatening in seconds. The symptoms differ for each person, and a correct diagnosis and treatment plan is essential.
Myth: If you aren’t wheezing, it isn’t asthma. Truth: The wheezing can sometimes only be heard with a stethoscope. During a severe episode, the wheezing is not heard because there is not any air movement in part of the lung.
Myth: Medications are habit-forming and lose their effectiveness over time. Truth: Asthma medications are safe and essential for asthma management. No asthma medication has been shown to lose its effectiveness for patients, and untreated asthma may lead to permanent lung damage.
Importance of medication
Access to the proper medication reduces the frequency and severity of attacks, improving the quality of life in the near term and can prolong life. Medication is essential even when asthma symptoms are not too bad because it can prevent an intense episode. Some asthma medicines, like corticosteroids, prevent severe attacks, while other prescriptions, like bronchodilators, provide relief during an episode.
PHF provides medication to children in Mexico who would not otherwise have access to treat their asthma. For $40/month, you can give medicine to a child with asthma. Will you help a child today?