Spring has Sprung, Signaling Peak Season for Allergy and Asthma Symptoms  Recognize symptoms, eliminate triggers and breathe easier Spring brings blossoms and more sneezes and wheezes for asthma and allergy sufferers. Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases, affecting one in 10 adults and one in seven children in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Health. In honor of spring, Buckeye Health Plan offers tips on recognizing triggers and controlling asthma to promote healthier, more active lives.

What is asthma? Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes airways to narrow, swell and produce extra mucus in response to an irritant. This makes it difficult to breathe, with common symptoms including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. “The most common asthma triggers include animal dander, dust mites, cockroaches, mold, smoke, cold weather, infections like colds, exercise and other irritants including fumes, paint and perfume,” says Dr. Ron Suprenant, Buckeye Health Plan Medical Director.

Tips to help prevent attacks A lot can be done to prevent attacks by identifying triggers and eliminating them. “Keeping a clean home, not wearing perfume around an asthma sufferer and washing hands to avoid infection can help,” says Dr. Suprenant. Proper management is critical because asthma can lead to a medical emergency. According to the Ohio Department of Health, asthma causes 20,000 hospitalizations and 70,000 emergency room visits each year in Ohio. While not curable, it can be managed. This typically involves a daily controller medicine coupled with a rescue inhaler for quick relief when symptoms flare up. People with well-controlled asthma can live healthy, active lives when properly treated. “It’s important to understand the difference between controller and rescue inhalers and use them as prescribed,” says Dr. Suprenant. “There’s no cure for asthma. It’s a chronic disease. People can go a long time feeling well, stop using their controller and then be surprised by a flare up. Taking a controller the day of a flare up is not effective. Even the most experienced asthma patient or parent needs to be reminded of this.”

Education and access to regular care supports members living with asthma Buckeye Health Plan educates and cares for each of its members living with asthma by helping them find doctors and providing free transportation to appointments. “And we take it one step further by accompanying members to appointments when they feel they need a second set of ears,” says Monique Gladden, Director of Care Management for Buckeye. “We visit their homes to help identify triggers and develop a resulting elimination plan. Because regular treatment is so important, we even check-in to make sure they are using their medication properly and address questions.” Buckeye is committed to improving the health of all Ohioans. “This Spring, Buckeye focuses on bringing education and awareness to allergy and asthma sufferers,” says Dr. Suprenant. “Our hope at Buckeye is that education and awareness will help those suffering and those around them better understand the disease, control it and lead healthier lives.” Contact Buckeye Health Plan at 866.246.4356 or buckeyehealthplan.com for additional information about how to become a member.

About Buckeye Health Plan (www.buckeyehealthplan.com) Buckeye Health Plan offers managed healthcare for Ohioans on Medicaid, Medicare, integrated Medicaid-Medicare (called MyCare Ohio) and the Health Insurance Exchange. Since 2004, Buckeye has been dedicated to improving the health of Ohioans, many with low incomes, by providing coordinated healthcare and other essential supports that individuals and families need to grow and thrive. Follow Buckeye on Twitter @Buckeye_Health and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BuckeyeHealthPlan. Buckeye is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a leading multi-line healthcare enterprise offering core Medicaid, Medicare and specialty services.

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