New York State Department of Health Recognizes National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

Department is Educating Residents on How to Manage Asthma During Allergy Season

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 03, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health recognizes National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month by educating New Yorkers about the importance of managing asthma, which can be triggered by allergens,during peak allergy season.

"Asthma is a common chronic condition that can be serious and even life-threatening, affecting nearly two million New Yorkers," Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Even though there is no cure for asthma, fortunately, it can be managed. Talking with a health care provider to create an asthma action plan, tracking symptoms, and identifying allergen triggers such as dust, mold, and pollen can make an impactful difference in helping individuals lead full and active lives."

Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs that causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. In New York State more than 1.4 million adults have asthma. Asthma occurs at any age, but is most commonly diagnosed during childhood. Nationally, nearly one in 13 school-age children have asthma, and that rate is rising more rapidly in preschool-aged children and those living in urban inner cities than in any other group. Asthma that is not well-controlled can greatly limit a person's quality of life.

Allergens, substances that cause allergies, can trigger asthma. Common allergens that can exacerbate asthma include dust mites, cockroaches, pollen, molds, animal allergens, and rodents.

Asthma rates are not the same across demographic groups. Non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous groups have the highest asthma rates compared to other races and ethnicities. Structural racism and discrimination, limited access to quality health care, and environmental pollution contribute to asthma rate disparities.

The Department is working to reduce the burden of asthma in collaboration with the American Lung Association, local health departments, schools and school districts, community-based organizations, and health system partners statewide.

Addressing the Burden of Asthma Among Children, a joint effort of the NYS Asthma Control Program and the American Lung Association supported with state funding, was launched on March 1, 2023. Efforts focus on advancing EXHALE, a set of six evidence-based, cost-effective strategies recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Asthma Control Program. These strategies aim to improve asthma-related health outcomes, prevent avoidable asthma-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations, and improve the quality of life among children with asthma and their families and caregivers.

The New York State Healthy Neighborhoods Program (HNP) seeks to reduce the burden of housing-related illness and injury through a holistic, healthy home approach. The program provides in-home assessments and interventions for asthma, tobacco cessation, indoor air quality, lead, fire safety, and other environmental health hazards in selected communities throughout New York. The program targets housing in high-risk areas that are identified using housing, health, and socioeconomic indicators from census and surveillance data.

The State Health Department and the State Education Department created A Guide for Asthma Management in Schools to provide information and resources to assist school personnel to help students with asthma remain healthy, optimize learning, and participate fully in school. The guide is designed for school and district employees, parents or guardians, members of local school boards, and leaders of organizations interested in the management of childhood asthma.

The Department reminds New Yorkers that asthma can be managed, and the disease does not have to be a deterrent to living a healthy and active life.

New York's Action Plan Against Asthma can be found here.

Tools for Managing Asthma can be found here.

Environmental Asthma Triggers can be found here.

The NYS Asthma Dashboard can be found here.