May is Asthma Awareness Month
Know Your Triggers and Develop an Action Plan for Effective Management

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[May 16, 2014]  CHICAGO – Nearly 26 million Americans suffer from asthma, a chronic lifelong disease that affects the lungs. Asthma causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing at night or early in the morning. In the United States, approximately half of people with asthma had at least one asthma attack in 2012. More children (55%) than adults (49%) had an attack. Asthma attacks cause adults to miss work and children to miss school.

To raise awareness about the health consequences and personal costs of asthma, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is urging Illinoisans to take control of their asthma.
“While there is no cure for asthma, there are ways to manage it and keep it under control,” said IDPH Director Dr. Hasbrouck. “Taking your medicine exactly as prescribed by your physician or health care provider – and avoiding your triggers – can help you avoid having an asthma attack.”

The IDPH encourages Illinoisans to speak with a health care provider to develop an action plan to manage their asthma effectively, and to learn what triggers their asthma. Common triggers like tobacco smoke, dust mites, mold, outdoor air pollution, furry pets and cockroaches can trigger an asthma attack – which can range from mild to life-threatening.

In Illinois approximately 850,000 people have asthma. Seventy-four percent of adults and 76.5 percent of children do not have their asthma under control. National guidelines recommend that persons with asthma seek at least two routine checkups per year. In 2011, there were 72,810 emergency room visits and 18,968 hospitalizations with asthma listed as the primary diagnosis.

African Americans are 2 to 3 times more likely to die from asthma than any other racial or ethnic group.

In 1999 the Illinois Asthma Program was established to develop strategic goals and long-range planning in the effort to reduce asthma in Illinois. In 2009, the 3rd Illinois Asthma Strategic Plan was released with long-range goals and solutions to reduce the burden of asthma for people with asthma and their caretakers.

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In August 2010, the Illinois General Assembly passed Public Act 96-1460 making it simpler for students to carry and self-administer rescue inhalers at school.

To learn more about asthma control and management, visit CDC at

IDPH continues to implement its Five Year Strategy 2014-2018 (PDF) to maximize IDPH’s effectiveness, influence and value for promoting wellness, health equity, safety and improved health outcomes. Strategic plan priorities include developing and expanding partnerships; improving data utilization; reducing health disparities; improving regulatory compliance; and branding, marketing and communicating IDPH’s value.


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