Area allergist Dr. Thomas Edwards will conduct free asthma screenings on Tuesday, September 27 at the main campus of Berkshire Community College (BCC) from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Adults and children can find out if symptoms such as a chronic cough, wheezing and shortness of breath might be a sign of asthma.
A national program, which was launched in May by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology(ACAAI), offers free screenings at more than 200 locations across the country for people who experience symptoms -- such as wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath -- that occur frequently, during exercise or at night.
More than 24 million Americans, including 7.1 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.
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 such as exercise.
When people exercise, they often breathe rapidly through their mouth instead of allowing their nose to warm and humidify the air. The cold, dry air that reaches the bronchial tubes can trigger asthma symptoms. These symptoms typically occur within five to 15 minutes after starting exercise and may occur several minutes after exercise has stopped. Between 80 percent to 90 percent of people with asthma suffer some degree of EIB, which also occurs in people without asthma, affecting about 10 percent of the general population.
During a screening, adults complete a 20-question life quality (LQ) test developed by the ACAAI. Children younger than 15 take a special test called the Kids' Asthma Check that allows them to answer questions themselves about any breathing problems. Another version of the check is available for parents of children up to 8 years of age to complete on their child's behalf.
Participants take a lung function test that involves blowing into a tube and meet with an allergist to determine if they should seek a more thorough examination and diagnosis.
For a list of additional asthma screening locations and dates after May or to take online versions of the LQ test and Kids' Asthma Check, visit www.AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org. For information visit the web site or call (866) 99-ASTHMA. Teva Respiratory, LLC, supports the Nationwide Asthma Screening Program.