(ROCKWALL, TX – May 29, 2019) According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than 1.5 million people in Texas are affected by asthma. However, this number does not include those who have the disease and have not yet been diagnosed. Asthma is a disease that causes the airways of the lungs to tighten and swell, making it difficult to breathe as reported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). When this occurs, it is referred to as an asthma attack and is often accompanied by coughing or wheezing. While asthma attacks only occur when triggered, the disease itself never goes away. The CDC recognizes these common asthma triggers: tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, cockroach allergens, pets, mold, smoke associated with burning wood or grass, and sicknesses such as the common cold or flu.
Asthma is most common among children and young teens; however, adults can have it, too. While asthma requires a diagnosis from a medical doctor, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Julie Tijerina recommends watching for these warning signs: frequent coughing attacks, difficulty breathing after physical activity, chest tightness, wheezing, and family history. Depending on the severity of asthma, a doctor may prescribe medicine to help with the attacks.
Tijerina recommends following these steps to minimize triggers: know what triggers your asthma and do your best to stay away from them, take your medications as prescribed, track your asthma and recognize warning signs that may show that it is getting worse, and seek medical attention if you’re asthma is getting worse or if your attacks are becoming more frequent.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension provides equal opportunities in its programs and employment to all persons, regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas cooperate to bring Extension to every county in Texas.
Julie Tijerina is a program specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Prepared by Aimee Sandifeer, EdD, Rockwall County Extension Agent.
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