Adults and children with symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath can find out if they are at risk for asthma through the 13th annual Nationwide Asthma Screening Program.
Los Angeles-area allergists, who are asthma specialists, will offer free asthma screenings at the following locations:
· May 2, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fountain Valley Hospital, 17100 Euclid Ave., Fountain Valley
· May 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Santa Monica Cares Health and Wellness Festival, 1300 Third St. Promenade, Santa Monica
· May 13, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Centinela Freeman Marina Hospital, 4644 Lincoln Blvd., Marina Del Rey
· May 16, 9 a.m. to noon, CHOC Breathmobile, Garden Grove Clinic, 10602 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove
· May 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., The Shops at Mission Viejo, 555 The Shops at Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo
· May 30, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Petit Park, 16730 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills
The program, sponsored by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), has screened an estimated 115,000 people and referred more than half for further diagnosis.
More than 22 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, have asthma. The disease is responsible for almost 4,000 deaths a year. Although the exact cause of asthma is unknown, many treatments are available to control this chronic inflammation of the airways in the lungs.
“Many people don’t realize their breathing problems might be caused by asthma and simply put up with their symptoms which could include a cough at night, colds that constantly go to the chest, shortness of breath during exercise or full-blown asthma attacks,” said allergist John Winder, M.D., chair of the Nationwide Asthma Screening Program. “Asthma is a serious disease and the screening program gives patients a chance to meet with an allergist who can help them identify the source of their suffering and direct them to the next steps for treatment.”
An asthma attack is often triggered by allergens such as pollen, dust and animal dander, certain drugs and food additives, respiratory infections and physical exertion. Once asthma is diagnosed, experts recommend aggressive treatment with allergen avoidance and medication. Because inflammation of the lungs and airways plays a central role in the development of asthma, the most effective medications are those that reduce inflammation. Studies show inhaled corticosteroids are the most powerful and effective anti-inflammatory medications for asthma, improving control of the disease and helping lungs function normally.
“Anyone with asthma should be able to feel good, be active all day and sleep well at night,” said Dr. Winder. “No one should accept anything less. If you think you might have asthma or just want to make sure you have good control of the disease, attend a free screening and find relief.”