Asthma, (also called bronchial asthma) is a chronic lung disease that affects more than 22 million people in the United States. Asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and tightness in the chest. Asthma affects people of all ages but often starts during childhood. Asthma in children (pediatric asthma) affects approximately 7 million American kids.

In May, the nation’s allergists will help adults and children learn if they are at risk for asthma or exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) asthma. It’s called the Nationwide Asthma Screening program. This is its 15th year anniversary and is sponsored by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). Allergists, working with

other physicians and allied health professionals, conduct the asthma screenings at shopping malls, civic centers, health fairs, and other locations throughout the country. The screenings will also check to see if your asthma is under control and can also help to direct people who may be suffering from other breathing ailments such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

The ACAAI has developed a 20-question Life Quality (LQ) test for adults. They also have a test for children under the age of15 called the Kids’ Asthma Check that allows them to answer questions themselves about any breathing problems they may have. For children under 8, there is a version of the Check that the parents may fill out for their children. Participants will also take a lung function test that involves breathing into a tube, and to meet with an allergist to see if they should get a more thorough exam and diagnosis.

The Health Care Reform Act made it so that insurance carriers can no longer deny children with pre-existing conditions. If you have been cautious about trying to obtain an individual family plan for your child with asthma, now is a great time to apply. If the health insurance premiums are a consideration, get a high deductible health plan to keep the costs down. Almost all plans allow doctor visits and prescription coverage without having to meet the deductible. If your child does need a prescription, be sure to try and get a generic drug. It will save you a lot of money over a brand name drug. Remember, when applying for a policy for a child under 18, you must have at least one adult on the plan with him/her.

WebMD has a list of the 10 worst cities for asthma for 2010. Do you live in one of these?

  • 10 – Atlanta, GA
  • 9 – Augusta, GA
  • 8 – Philadelphia, PA
  • 7 – Tulsa, OK
  • 6 – Memphis, TN
  • 5 – Milwaukee
  • 4 – Knoxville, TN
  • 3 – Chattanooga, TN
  • 2 – St Louis MO
  • 1 – Richmond, VA

Asthma can be a very frightening disease. Just imagine what it must feel like to not be able to breathe. I had a friend who had it. She lived in a mobile home. I went to pick her up one night to go out and when she didn’t answer the door I went inside. I found her on the floor trying to suck air out of the a/c vent! With the proper treatment, however, it does not have to be so frightening.