Plan to attend an event to increase asthma awareness on May 19, at 9 a.m., at 8600 NW 17 St., Suite 200 (large conference room), Doral put on by the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, South Florida Asthma Consortium and Florida Asthma Coalition.

The Florida Department of Health recognizes May as Asthma Awareness Month along with May 6 as World Asthma Day.

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways in the lungs and continues to be a serious public health problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 25.7 million people, including 7 million children, have asthma.

Asthma, if not well managed, can result in repeated episodes of coughing, wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, loss of sleep and even death. Individuals can manage their asthma by knowing what may trigger an asthma attack and the physical warning signs of an attack. Common triggers include second-hand smoke, mold, dust mites, pet dander, cockroaches, pollen, strong odors, colds and flu, and in some instances exercise, stress, cold air and certain foods. When asthma sufferers know their triggers, they are able to avoid these elements and reduce the likelihood of an attack.

Although asthma cannot be cured, successful management includes knowing the warning signs of attack, avoiding things that may trigger an episode and following the advice of your healthcare provider.

“Asthma affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Every person with asthma should have a timely diagnosis, receive appropriate treatment, learn to manage their own asthma, and reduce exposure to environmental factors that make asthma worse,” said Lillian Rivera, administrator of Miami Dade’s Florida Department of Health.

About one in 10 children and one in 12 adults have asthma.  In 2012, the total charges related to 14,814 emergency department visits and 4,256 hospitalizations due to asthma exceeded $182 million in Miami-Dade.

During the May 19 event, KIDCO IV, & V, South Dade Child Development Center, Sagrada Famillia Child Development Center, Centro Mater Walker Park Childcare Center, Centro Mater West Childcare Center and Liberty Square Childcare Centers will be recognized for completing training in asthma management and taking other actions to create a healthy environment earning them a Bronze Level Asthma-Friendly Childcare Center certificate.

Further information regarding asthma awareness can be found at the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County’s website or by calling 305-470-6877.