You know, air is one of those things you just have to have. Asthma interferes with airflow, causing air trapping in the lungs, wheezing, cough and shortness of breath. It is estimated that one in 12 children has asthma, and it is the single most common reason for missed days of school.
Asthma attacks are common. Almost 50% of children with asthma report having at least one attack in any given year. Attacks are very frightening, with sudden onset of symptoms, and are a common reason for ER visits. It is the third leading cause of hospitalization for children under 15. Thousands of Americans die every year from asthma. Black people are three times more likely to die from asthma than Caucasians.
There was a study published that explored using school-based education programs about asthma. They found that teaching children about asthma in school decreased trips to the ER and hospitalizations.
There is a big problem with asthma management in this country. Many children and parents don’t know how to use inhalers properly. Children aren’t comfortable reporting symptoms at school because they’re embarrassed to ask to go to the nurse to use their medication. And access to primary care is inconsistent, leading parents to overuse the ER.
Asthma education programs in school raise awareness among students and teachers so children with asthma are less likely to be stigmatized. The more people who are able to recognize early signs of an asthma attack, the more likely a child will get treatment quickly when it is most effective.
Asthma claims the lives of thousands of people yearly. There is unfortunately limited primary care access in many parts of the country. With higher illness burden in African American children, more ways to educate patients and parents about asthma management are needed. Asthma education programs in schools are a natural and (now) proven option to decrease ER visits and hospital stays.
QUESTION: Do you think teaching children about asthma in school will help raise awareness and improve health outcomes?