asthmaManaging asthma effectively involves being concerned about our air quality, controlling transportation emissions, identifying and treating asthma, eliminating smoking and second hand smoke, and for people with asthma engaging in self-care. As a community each of us can help by using public transportation, purchasing energy efficient appliances, and not smoking.

Everyone can develop asthma at any age. Asthma is an inflammation in your airways that results in the passages being narrowed, swelling and producing extra mucus which can lead to difficulty breathing. It is estimated that over 209,000 people have asthma in the Sacramento area by Breathe California. This is due in part because Sacramento’s air quality is one of the5th most polluted metropolitan area in the country. Our air quality is slowly improving with efforts from businesses, policy makers, and advocates working on this issue but more work is needed.

Asthma impacts an individuals and their families’ personal health but also other areas of their lives. Asthma is one of the leading causes of school absences and lost workdays. These absences can affect their long term education and income potential. Frequent emergency room visits and ongoing prescriptions also affect health care costs. To avoid these challenges people with asthma must regularly take steps to eliminate pollution at home, avoid triggers, and take medications as prescribed.

Common asthma symptoms are:
• Coughing, especially at night
• Wheezing — a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe
• Shortness of breath
• Chest tightness, pain, or pressure
• Faster breathing or noisy breathing

Asthma triggers include:
• Outdoor air pollution
• Airborne allergens, such as pollen, animal dander, mold, cockroaches and dust mites
• Respiratory infections, such as the common cold, flu, sinus infections, and pneumonia
• Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke from fireplaces or tobacco products
• Certain medications, including beta blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
• Strong emotions and stress

Asthma is an on-going condition that can be managed effectively. Common issues in managing asthma may be recognizing when crisis occur (e.g. seasonal, during activities, or after illness) and identifying when to increase medication. Use an action plan to aid you in recording triggers, symptoms, and medication usage. Work with your medical providers, family, and community to make improvements for your health, home, and environment a priority.

Asthma classes: FREE and open to the public by Breathe California.
1. April 17th at 10:30am at Vineland Head Start
2. April 24th at 4:30pm at Strizek Head Start