Nearly five million children have asthma. Not only do they suffer from the disease, many children with asthma miss out on childhood fun.
They miss school, too - accounting for 10 million absences per year.
Most children have mild to moderate problems, but for some, asthma causes multiple hospitalizations and emergency room visits. One in six of all pediatric emergency visits in the U.S. is related to asthma.
"Asthma is a lot worse than it used to be," said Janice Stavnes, certified respiratory therapist at Buena Vista County Hospital. "It is so common and definitely on the rise with pollution and other things in the air that can trigger an asthma attack."
Asthma is a chronic lung condition. It is characterized by difficulty in breathing. Those with asthma have extra sensitive or hyper-responsive airways. The airways react by narrowing or obstructing when they become irritated. This makes it difficult for the air to move in and out and can cause wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness.
Triggers result in the tightening of the airways. Common triggers of asthma include cold air, dust, strong fumes, exercise, inhaled irritants, emotional upsets and smoke. Triggers do not cause inflammation and therefore do not cause asthma. Symptoms caused by triggers tend to be immediate, short-lived and rapidly reversible. Airways will react more quickly to triggers if inflammation is already present in the airways.
Read the rest of this story in the 3/3 Pilot Tribune.