Did you know that Allen County conducts a county-wide Health and Community Needs assessment every five years? This assessment collects and analyzes data from both adult and youth residents regarding their health behaviors and risks. One of the areas that the assessment addressed was on the prevalence of asthma and other respiratory disease in adults in Allen County.
In Allen County, 10 percent of adults had been diagnosed with asthma in 2014, which is below the state and national rates. However, asthma still has a substantial effect on Americans. In 2008, asthma accounted for an estimated 14.2 million lost work days for adults. In 2009, close to 2.1 million emergency room visits were attributed to asthma and there were 3,388 deaths attributed to asthma (63 percent of these deaths occurred in women). The exact cause of asthma isn’t known. Researchers think some genetic and environmental factors interact to cause asthma, most often early in life.
There are many factors which determine if someone is diagnosed with asthma, but let’s look at what causes an asthma attack. According to the CDC, there are several important factors that may trigger an asthma attack. Some of these triggers are:
• Tobacco smoke. If you have asthma and you smoke, quit smoking.
• Dust mites. To prevent attacks, always use mattress covers and pillow case covers.
• Outdoor air pollution. Plan activities when air pollution levels will be low.
• Cockroach allergens. Remove as many possible water and food sources for the pests as you can.
• Pets. If you have asthma, keep your pets out of your bedroom.
• Mold. Humidity can make mold grow, so consider a dehumidifier.
• Smoke from burning wood or grass. If you can, avoid burning wood in your home.
• Infections linked to the flu, colds, and respiratory viruses. Stay active, nourished and get plenty of sleep to build your defenses.
To view the full report and to find additional information from the Allen County Health Risk and Community Needs Assessment you can visit http://www.allencountypublichealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/CHA-2015.pdf.