Asthma affects 18.4 million Americans over the age of 18 and 6.2 million children under the age of 16. And according to IFL Science, asthma doesn’t just cause problems for individuals; it also costs the U.S. economy billions of dollars. The likelihood that allergic rhinitis or asthma will spontaneously go away is approximately 1% per year.
A new study published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society reveals that the economic burden of asthma attacks and treatment exceeds $81.9 billion each year.
There are plenty of contributing factors to cases of asthma: according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundations of America, 80% of Americans are exposed to dust mites on a daily basis and 60% are exposed to pet dander, both of which can lead to severe health problems — especially for those who already suffer from asthma.
The study surveyed nearly 214,000 people and discovered that 10,000 have at least one prescription for asthma treatment or had to have a medical encounter due to their asthma within a calendar year.
“The cost of asthma is one of the most important measures of the burden of the disease,” said Dr. Tursynbek Nurmagambetov, lead author of the new study and economist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Cost studies can influence health policy decisions and help decision makers understand the scale, seriousness and implications of asthma, so that resources can be identified to improve disease management and reduce the burden of asthma.”
Additionally, children who struggle with asthma are at an increased risk from other illnesses such as the flu.
The CDC reports that a diagnosis of an influenza infection can be much more serious for individuals with asthma — especially children.
Here are the necessary steps to take to fight asthma-related flu symptoms, according to the CNC and the Department of Health:
- Get a flu vaccine.
- Remain at home if you’re sick.
- Wash your hands as often as possible.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
- Speak with a medical professional if flu symptoms worsen.