FORT KNOX, Ky. -- May is Asthma Awareness Month, and this year Ireland Army Community Hospital professionals are offering free asthma screenings from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., May 19 at the PX lobby.
Adults and children with symptoms such as wheezing, coughing or shortness of breath can find out if they are at risk for asthma.
“We offer the tools and resources to give people a chance to see if they are at risk and get them on the path to find relief,” said LTC (Dr.) Michael Steinberg, officer-in-charge of the IRACH Allergy and Immunization Clinic. “The screening is quick, painless and free, and checks for this condition that could affect your quality of life.”
More than 25 million Americans, including 7 million children, have asthma. The disease is responsible for almost 3,500 deaths a year. An asthma attack is often triggered by allergens such as pollen, dust and animal dander, certain drugs and food additives or respiratory infections. Although the exact cause of asthma is unknown, many treatments are available to control this chronic inflammation of the airways in the lungs.
Allergy and asthma are often related. Nasal allergies affect 10 percent to 30 percent of adults and up to 40 percent of children. Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal, with symptoms brought on by sensitivity to pollen from trees, grasses or weeds, or to airborne mold spores.
Sometimes, sensitivity to house dust mites, animal dander, mold spores or cockroaches can trigger a reaction, called perennial allergic rhinitis, with year-round symptoms.
Between 80 percent to 90 percent of people with asthma also have exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), which are breathing problems that occur during or after exercise. EIB affects 10 percent of Americans who do not have asthma. When people exercise, they often breathe rapidly through their mouth instead of allowing their nose to warm and humidify the air. The cold, dry air that reaches the bronchial tubes can trigger breathing difficulties within five to 15 minutes after starting exercise and may occur for several minutes after stopping.
“Allergies and asthma are serious diseases, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. Misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment can have serious health consequences,” said Dr. Steinberg. “Board-certified allergists are the best-trained health professionals to perform allergy testing and treat allergic diseases effectively so that people with asthma, allergies or EIB should be able to work, exercise and sleep well at night without symptoms.”
During a screening, adults complete a Life Quality (LQ) Test developed by the ACAAI. Children under age 15 take the Kids’ Asthma Check that allows them to answer questions themselves about breathing problems and another version is available for parents of children up to 8 years of age to complete on their child’s behalf. Questions on allergies also are included.
To screen for asthma and EIB, participants take a lung function test that involves blowing into a tube. All participants meet with an allergist to determine if they should seek a thorough examination and diagnosis for any of the conditions.
IRACH Public Affairs