May Is Asthma Awareness Month

By Lori Abbot, California News Service

May is Asthma Awareness Month, encouraging Californians to learn more about the chronic respiratory disease and its triggers.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nearly 26 million people have asthma, including 7 million children.

Howard Kahn, chief executive officer of L.A. Care Health Plan, says his organization has seen great success with its asthma-management program, which is designed to improve the quality of life of asthma sufferers, especially children in underserved communities.

“It has effects on school attendance, the kid’s ability to get out and move, which then has an effect on obesity. So, there are all kinds of reasons why you want to try to control the asthma.”

Health experts say it’s important to see a doctor about appropriate medications and avoid asthma triggers such as air pollution, mold and even cockroaches. It’s also important to stay informed about local air-quality conditions.

L.A. Care Health Plan is one of only four programs across the nation to receive the EPA’s National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management this year. Kahn says the plan’s team-based asthma-management program works because it provides intense interventions plus better access to specialty asthma care.

“Our staff calls it ‘asthma treatment without walls.’ So, the idea is not just to talk on the phone, not just to send materials, but to get out in the community with the kids, with the families, with the people that are affected by asthma.”

The Environmental Leadership Award honors recipients across the nation for improving the lives of people with asthma in underserved communities.

More information is online at lacare.org and epa.gov/asthma.

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May 10, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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