NEW YORK CITY – May 5, 2006 – The number of New Yorkers experiencing allergy and asthma symptoms over the past week has more than doubled, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) announced today. DOHMH's daily monitoring of hospital emergency department showed an increase from 250 emergency department visits per day for asthma symptoms during the first three weeks of April to an average of 500 visits per day for the past several days. Additionally, sales of over-the-counter allergy medications increased more than two-fold over the past two weeks. This pattern is observed annually and marks the beginning of Spring allergy season.
“New Yorkers who suffer from asthma may experience worsened symptoms during allergy season,” said DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Frieden. “New Yorkers with asthma should talk to their doctor about avoiding asthma triggers, developing and following an asthma action plan, and taking asthma control medications as prescribed. Proper asthma management can prevent severe asthma episodes, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations.”
Recommendations for New Yorkers to “K.I.C.K. Asthma:”
- • K now
what worsens your asthma and avoid these triggers
- • I nform
your doctor if you have frequent asthma symptoms (more than two days per week,
or nighttime symptoms more than two nights per month).
- • C ontrol
frequent symptoms by using long-term control asthma medicines. Inhaled
corticosteroids are the most effective for most people with persistent asthma.
- • K eep regular doctor's visits, and ask your doctor for a written Asthma Action Plan.
DOHMH is Working to Control Asthma in NYC
DOHMH works closely with schools, early childhood organizations, health care organizations, doctors and community partners to improve and encourage asthma care and self-management. DOHMH convenes the New York City Asthma Partnership , a coalition of more than 300 individuals and organizations working collectively to address asthma citywide. Additionally, DOHMH operates several programs and initiatives including:
The Asthma Care Coordinator Project, which connects children who visit emergency rooms, and those who are hospitalized with services including asthma specialty care, primary care, medication assistance, asthma education, and home environmental assessment and remediation services.
The East and Central Harlem District Public Health Office, which coordinates community-wide asthma planning and services for people living in East and Central Harlem ;
Managing Asthma in Schools, a comprehensive program operated jointly with the Department of Education to improve coordination of care for children with asthma in more than 800 public elementary schools;
Open Airways for Schools Program: A collaborative project with the American Lung Association, and public and private elementary schools, which provides asthma self-management education to over 3,000 children with asthma in NYC elementary schools.
The Asthma Daycare Project which supports the enhancement of health tracking and coordination of care for children with asthma daycare, Head Start, and pre-Kindergarten programs; and
The Community Integrated Pest Management Program which provides remediation services and educates community partners about how to eliminate pests, including cockroaches and mice, in low-income apartments where people with asthma reside.
Asthma Training Institute- Provides asthma education and training to community health educators, health care providers, social workers, and staff of several city agencies.
DOHMH encourages medical providers to:
- • Assess Asthma severity at each visit
- • Prescribe long term control medicines (inhaled
corticosteroids preferred), for individuals with persistent asthma.
- • Partner with patients and give them a written Asthma Action Plan.
Active Asthma Management
Individuals with asthma can take several steps to manage their asthma:
- • Ask your doctor about Inhaled corticosteroids
if you have frequent asthma symptoms (symptoms for more than two days per
week, or nighttime symptoms more than two nights per month).
- • If you do not have a written asthma management
plan or if your asthma medications have changed, work with your (or your
child's) doctor to develop an Asthma Action Plan.
- • Take medications as directed by your health
- • For school-aged children, ask your child's
doctor to complete a school medication administration form so that your child
can take his/her asthma medicines at school.
- • Talk to your doctor about allergy medications
to help reduce or eliminate allergy symptoms.
- • Ask your healthcare provider about taking
asthma medicine before you exercise.
- • Work with your doctor to find out what
triggers your asthma and how to limit exposure.
- • Don't smoke and avoid exposure to tobacco
smoke as it can trigger asthma episodes.
- • Use safe methods to control pests like roaches
and rodents (e.g., seal cracks and crevices, use bait stations and gels, and
store food in air tight containers).
- • Wash your hands regularly to reduce the spread
of germs that cause colds and infections.
- • Get a flu shot every year
- • Prevent pollen and certain outdoor air
pollutants from entering your home by keeping your windows and door closed
when pollen counts or air pollution levels are high. Use air conditioning in
warm weather if possible and clean its filter regularly.
- • A HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) cleaner may help reduce exposure to some asthma triggers. Follow the manufacturer's directions for cleaning it.
For more information on asthma and its treatment, visit nyc.gov/health/asthma or call 311 and ask for the Asthma Action line.