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Asthma

Asthma_(2)

One in every 10 children in the U.S. has asthma. Asthma is the most common long-term disease of children, and is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism, resulting in 10.5 million reported missed school days in 2013 alone (CDC). It costs approximately $27B per year.  

Like many of the diseases affecting our children today, asthma is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.  Allergens, viruses, preexisting food allergies, and poor air quality can all trigger asthma in a susceptible child.  Because their exposure to these irritants tends to be greater, low-income populations, minorities, and children living in inner cities have disproportionately high asthma rates and higher morbidity and mortality rates associated with asthma as well.

Asthma is like most allergies, much easier to prevent than to cure.  To reduce your child's vulnerability, work to eliminate all potential asthma triggers in your home, like cockroach dust, mold, pollen, cat dander, certain foods (milk, eggs, dairy), tobacco smoke, and dust mites.  Ensure you don't "overclean," as a child's immune system requires some exposure to bacteria in order to develop properly. Omit heavy-duty chemical cleaners, air fresheners and antibacterial products.

Almost 80 percent of childhood asthma cases are diagnosed before the age of five.  If you suspect your child may be asthmatic, take her to the pediatrician right away and talk to the doctor about creating a plan for managing asthma.  You, your child and any caregivers should be able to recognize common asthma-attack triggers, such as excessive stress or emotion, cigarette smoke, cold air and other climate changes, respiratory infections, and exercise. (Source: Growing Up Green:  Baby and Child Care by Deirdre Imus)

Asthma in the U.S: Growing Every Year

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