LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — May is asthma awareness month and the American Lung Association said more than 25 million Americans are living with asthma and residents in Nevada may have a harder time dealing with it.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that can affect a person at any age. LaWanda Torres is the clinic coordinator for the Women, Infant and Children Center (WIC) in Las Vegas and she said that more than half of those who come to see her are suffering from asthma.
“Asthma usually comes with some wheezing or shortness of breath, you know tightness in the chest,” Torres said. “When we are assessing our participants, we listen to their environment.”
Asthma attacks can be triggered by the elements in the environment and the condition is often underdiagnosed. WIC participants are mostly underprivileged, so treatment is not easy to come by.
“There’s something about this desert and the dust that settles in the throat, esophagus area that keeps it more prominent,” Torres said. “A lot of moms, unfortunately, that we talk to are in domestic violence situations and get whatever they can and get out of there. So now they are in a situation where the baby is suffering from asthma, or they themselves are suffering from it, and don’t have medical supplies.”
Torres is hopeful that during asthma awareness month, those who are suffering from symptoms know the resourses are out there.
According to Enhance Health, the average cost of an inhaler without insurance starts at $87 and could cost as much as $400.