May's the Month for Free Asthma Screening in U.S.

Experts nationwide will check for respiratory trouble

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THURSDAY, May 18, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- American children and adults with asthma or suspected asthma can get free screening for the disease this month at the 10th annual U.S. Nationwide Asthma Screening Program, which is offered each year by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

Free screenings for children and adults with breathing problems such as chronic coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath will be held at more than 300 locations across the country, organizers say.

The program has screened more than 90,000 people since it first began.

"As allergists, we're committed to helping people breathe easier," Dr. John Winder, chairman of the asthma screening program, said in a prepared statement. "The screening program has reached thousands of adults and children who are suffering from undiagnosed and under-treated asthma. Many of these people are not only making unnecessary lifestyle compromises, but also putting themselves at risk for irreversible lung damage," he said.

During the screening, adults complete a 20-question Life Quality Test developed by the ACAAI. Children under age 15 (or their parents) answer questions on a special Kids' Asthma Check test. Screening participants also take a lung function test and meet with an allergist to determine if they should seek a thorough examination and diagnosis.

"Today, more effective treatments than ever are available to help people control their asthma and live normal, productive lives. No one should expect anything less," Winder said. "Adults and children who have breathing problems, or think their asthma could be better managed, should consider stopping by one of the free screenings," he said.

Asthma affects an estimated 21.9 million Americans. May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.

More information

To find a screening site near you, go to the ACAAI.

SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release, May 2006

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