Asthma screenings offered during awareness month
With more isle residents dying of asthma than the national average, the public is encouraged to learn more about the disease during National Asthma Awareness Month.
The Hawaii Society of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology is offering free asthma screenings and allergy/asthma education at three Oahu locations.
Respiratory technicians, pharmacists and allergy/asthma physicians will do asthma screenings and provide information from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Costco Waipio and May 20 at Kahala Mall, and 2 to 5 p.m. May 27 at Waianae Mall.
The goal of Asthma Awareness Month is to inform the public of the importance of a timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment for people with asthma.
Common symptoms are coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath, said Gregg Kishaba, Hawaii State Asthma Control Program coordinator.
He said Hawaii's mortality rate has dropped during the past 10 years but remains above the national average, accounting for 21 deaths in 2002.
Hawaii had 2.1 deaths per 100,000 people that year compared with a national average of 1.5 per 100,000 people, he said.
Disparities in asthma continue to persist here, notably among native Hawaiians, female adults and people who live in rural areas, Kishaba said.
Asthma is one of the major causes of missed work and school days nationwide.
About 10 percent of Hawaii's children have asthma, and thousands of others are believed to be undiagnosed, according to the state Department of Health.
It costs about $43 million each year in Hawaii to control the disease, the agency said.
About 4,000 residents are taken to the emergency room annually because of asthma, it reported. Most are infants and children up to 4 years old.
The chronic lung disease cannot be cured, but can be treated effectively, said Dr. Chiyome Fukino, state health director.
"Taking a deep breath is a struggle for many Hawaii residents diagnosed with asthma," she said in a news release.
"People need to know that they don't have to live like that. There are treatment plans that will allow them to live a healthy, active life."
For more information, call 692-7472.