According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in every 13 people(more than 25 million Americans!), suffers from asthma. Asthma is a condition that causes swelling in the airways. Narrowed airways make breathing difficult.
Add in allergens or other irritations, and sufferers may experience asthma attacks. These cause extreme difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, and a tightening in the chest.
Severe asthma attacks or unmanaged asthma can be deadly. There is no cure, though symptoms can be managed with medication and breathing exercises.
Despite how common asthma is, many people are unaware of the challenges that those suffering asthma face. That’s where World Asthma Day comes in!
Each year, World Asthma Day is used to spread awareness and resources about this common, deadly condition. Keep reading to learn more about how you can celebrate World Asthma Day.
What Is World Asthma Day?
Each year, people around the globe join in celebrating World Asthma Day. The event is organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). The day promotes asthma awareness. It also teaches about the difficulty of living with and managing this condition.
World Asthma Day is held on the first Tuesday in May each year. Besides GINA, health care groups and asthma experts and educators participate in various cities and locations all over the world.
The first World Asthma Day was held in 1998. That year, 35 countries participated in a World Asthma Meeting that was held in Barcelona, Spain. Since then, the annual meetings have continued, with participation increasing every year.
Besides World Asthma Day, the entire month of May is designated as the National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.
How Is World Asthma Day Usually Celebrated?
The annual World Asthma Day brings together doctors, researchers, and experts. They convene on new advances in asthma medication, ideas for management, and more.
But it is possible to celebrate World Asthma Day without attending the meeting, or even being an expert in the field.
Maybe you yourself suffer from asthma. Or maybe someone that you love does, and you want to show your support.
Various ideas for celebrating World Asthma Day in the past have included:
- Hosting free asthma screening clinics at hospitals
- Organized bus tours to bring asthma awareness, diagnosis, and education to remote areas
- Launching new websites offering educational information and resources in localized areas
- Panel discussions for parents and teachers at local schools to develop plans for managing asthma in students
- Organizing debates about issues that affect asthma control, like public smoking laws and pollution
- Creating games and activities to teach children about asthma (both for children with asthma and those who don’t suffer from it)
These are only a few examples of ways that people celebrate and recognize World Asthma Day. Organizers recommend finding ways to spread awareness and raise support in your area, in ways that resonate with your local community or target groups.
Why Asthma Awareness Is More Important Now Than Ever
With COVID-19 sweeping across the world, asthma awareness has never been more important.
Since COVID-19 affects the respiratory tract, including the nose, throat, and lungs, it can make it difficult for those suffering from the virus to breathe.
Asthma weakens the lungs and can make breathing difficult when an individual isn’t sick, so COVID-19 can make breathing nearly impossible.
Contracting the virus can lead to pneumonia or acute respiratory disease in those with asthma. It can also trigger a dangerous asthma attack.
Participating in World Asthma Day This Year
This year, World Asthma Day falls on May 5th. But with millions of people sheltering at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the celebrations and events are going to be very different from years past.
Many cities, states, and even entire nations have banned gatherings of more than 10 people. This makes most large-scale events a challenge. Even public asthma screenings are unlikely to be held this year. Most hospitals and clinics are already stretched thin on resources and employee hours.
But just because meetings, clinics, and other public events can’t be held doesn’t mean that you can’t recognize World Asthma Day this year.
Asthma awareness and spreading resources can still be done over the web. You could host an online meeting, launch a new website with asthma education materials or even email friends and family activities to educate them about the struggles that asthma sufferers face.
Even just showing your support on social media by using hashtag #WorldAsthmaDay is a way to participate and help spread awareness!
Spreading Awareness of Asthma All Year Long
Showing your support and helping others better understand asthma and its symptoms is something you can do all year long.
For more information on asthma and its symptoms and treatments, check out this article.