The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) is offering free asthma screenings starting in May as part of National Asthma Awareness Month. Screenings will be offered at more than 200 locations across the country for people who have symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath that occur frequently, during exercise, or at night.

“Many people who cough at night or get short of breath when they exercise don’t think they are at risk for conditions like asthma or EIB [exercise-induced bronchoconstriction],” said John Winder, MD, an allergist and chair of the ACAAI Nationwide Asthma Screening Program which is in its 15th year. “But these symptoms shouldn’t be taken lightly and anyone who experiences breathing problems should attend a free screening to see an allergist who can help identify the source of their suffering.”

Allergists, working with other physicians and allied health professionals, will conduct the screenings at shopping malls, civic centers, health fairs, and other locations throughout the country. The screenings also offer people already diagnosed with asthma the chance to see if their condition is under control and can direct people who may be suffering from other breathing conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to seek professional diagnosis.

During a screening, adults complete a 20-question Life Quality (LQ) Test developed by the ACAAI. Children under age 15 take a special test called the Kids’ Asthma Check that allows them to answer questions themselves about any breathing problems. Another version of the Check is available for parents of children up to 8 years of age to complete on their child’s behalf.

Participants take a lung function test and meet an allergist to determine if they should seek a thorough examination and diagnosis.

Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology