What is asthma?
Asthma is a disease that affects your lungs. It causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing.
Asthma remains a significant burden on our state, our health care system, employers, and many Delawareans and their families. Because asthma is a chronic condition, it requires lifestyle changes for people living with asthma and their families. People with asthma usually adopt a self-management regimen with a physician's help. Utilizing the healthcare system, i.e., hospital inpatient and emergency room visits, is primarily part of asthma management.
Certain environmental factors can trigger asthma symptoms, like smoke. Reducing smoking in public places or at home can help reduce asthma episodes. Continued monitoring of air quality and attempts to reduce airborne irritants also can have a widespread impact on those with asthma and their families. Efforts to mitigate other known irritants, such as pet dander, dust mites, and some chemicals in homes and public places, can also reduce asthma's burden.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates that asthma — including medical expenses, medication, lost work and school days, and costs of premature death — costs about $3,300 per person with asthma per year. Based on this estimate, the total cost of asthma in Delaware would be more than $200 million a year.