May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness month, with the week of May 8-14 being Food Allergy Awareness Week.
Asthma and allergies are serious chronic diseases that affect many adults and children throughout the country. One in thirteen American children has food allergies. One in ten children have asthma, and one out of five Americans (adults and children) have both allergies and/or asthma. That is why every year the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) declares May to be National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.
As the mother of a child who suffers from both food allergies and asthma, I understand what it’s like to deal with both of these diseases on a day-to-day basis. With so many children and adults affected by both asthma and allergies, it’s so very important to do all we can to raise awareness about these two potentially life-threatening medical conditions.
Mainly because they are, unfortunately, not taken very seriously.
Numerous television shows and movies have made fun of food allergies and those with asthma. But the fact of the matter is these are very serious conditions that can potentially be life-threatening. Thankfully, there are organizations such as AAFA, Kids with Food Allergies (KFA), and FARE that help raise awareness, and bring recognition for, both of these conditions.
Here are some events taking place for Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, as well as some ways you can help raise awareness for those who are affected by these conditions.
- May 1-31: Join AAFA as they focus on prevention and treatment of asthma and allergies. You can share their PSA videos and awareness messages.
- May 1-14: Check to see if your local building or landmark will #TurnItTeal for food allergies!
- May 2-6: Air Quality Awareness Week. Learn how air quality affects those with asthma.
- May 8-14: Food Allergy Awareness Week (FAAW) – One in thirteen U.S. children has a food allergy. If your child has food allergies, you can add their photo to the annual Faces of Food Allergies photo-sharing event, put on by AAFA.
- May 10: Join the AAFA #AllergyCare Twitter chat at 8 p.m. ET to gain more confidence on when and how to use asthma and allergy medicines, including injections. Follow @AAFANational and @KFATweets.
- May 15-21: National Eosinophil Esophagitis (EoE)Awareness Week – Learn more about EoE HERE and HERE.
- May 18: Join AAFA’s “Ask the Expert” Community Chat at 7 p.m. ET. Bring your questions about how to best use your asthma medicines.
- May 27: Take part in Remembrance Day to honor the memories of people lost to asthma or allergy. Visit a park and honor them by blowing bubbles (a more environmentally friendly option than releasing a balloon).
How you can get involved this month
There are many ways for those of us who are affected by asthma and allergies to raise awareness. Even if you aren’t directly affected by these conditions, there are still plenty of ways to get involved and show your support for those around you who are. Here are some ways you can help promote Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.
- Have asthma and/or allergies yourself? Join the AAFA photo sharing event at tackleasthma.org. Share a photo on social media or post to the AAFA community. Feel free to use hashtags #TackleAsthma and #TackleAllergies. You could win a gift pack of asthma & allergy friendly® certified products.
- Join the AAFA asthma community or KFA food allergy community and follow the AAFA blog for the latest news on asthma and allergy research and treatments. The AAFA community also provides an opportunity to connect with others who manage asthma and allergic disease for support.
- Participate in one of the awareness events mentioned above.
- Share the AAFA and KFA images on Social Media.
- Share your story with AAFA. Let others know what it’s like to live with asthma and/or allergies on a daily basis.
- Tell parents, schools, and health care providers about the AAFA educational programs. AAFA provides training materials for asthma and allergies.
- Donate to AAFA on behalf of someone you love with asthma or allergies.
- Get support for yourself or a loved one with asthma and allergies by connecting with a support group.
- Consider hosting your own fundraiser or awareness event on behalf of AAFA. They can show you how!
- Check out this comprehensive list of 31 days of action for Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.