May is Asthma Awareness Month, but rather than just becoming aware of this disease, it’s time to take action. Asthma is in the news very often—at least it is here in Pittsburgh. There are scads of websites and even more apps available that are dedicated to awareness and management. While this is great, what good is this information if people aren’t acknowledging it? What troubles me is that all this information still doesn’t seem to be enough to motivate adults with asthma or parents of children with asthma to attend training sessions.

We should all learn more about asthma since it affects so many of us in one way or another—1 in 10 people suffer from asthma. I’ve worked with many people, especially parents, who have taken the time to attend training sessions explaining what asthma is and how to keep it under control, and I think they are rock stars! What would it take to make the rest of you want to give up an hour of your time to attend a class?

Despite the wealth of information that’s out there, there are still more people who don’t have the knowledge they need to take care of themselves and/or their children with asthma.  I’ve spoken with school nurses who have said that they see children with poorly-managed asthma on a daily basis, and many adult asthma sufferers don’t grasp the importance of asthma management beyond having a rescue inhaler. I realize that asthma is something that isn’t thought about until the need arises, but it could be less of a problem if the right plan of action is put into place. Good asthma control is possible in most cases, but it can take time and patience to find the right mix.

In my 30 years’ experience working in hospitals and providing home care, it seems that parents who have taken the time to prepare themselves to take care of their chronically ill children at home give their children the best chance of doing really well. These parents are advocates for their children (despite being dealt some of the worst hands imaginable), and I can’t help but have the utmost respect for them.

These scenarios make me wonder if the circumstances need to be dire for people to want to take action or if there are other factors to consider. Is it the time constraints of everyday life? Do you consider your asthma to be a problem? Is the information too overwhelming? When/where are you most likely to attend a training session? We drafted a survey for you all, and your answers will help us help you. Please click here to take our quick survey.  Let’s take action against this chronic, but manageable disease.

You don’t have to do it alone, though. Your doctor can help and we are also here to help by teaching you proper techniques, what different medications do, identifying your triggers and helping you to ask the right questions of your physician. Don’t just be “aware.” Take one step towards better asthma management and a more active life. Please leave me your comments and suggestions to “help me help you.”

Here’s to awareness and action.