Better identification of cases and worsening air quality are driving asthma rates up.
Asthma rates are going up across-the-board and are higher in Franklin County than Ohio and the United States.
“Nearly two decades ago, we revolutionized how we care for asthmatics at Nationwide Children’s, only to see that care break down after the child left the hospital. So we worked to elevate care in the community and there were improvements. There continue to be opportunities to improve care, and we must use them effectively. Nationwide Children’s has recently completed a process of examining every avenue where something could break down in the care of an asthmatic child in our community. We have developed a model and specific programs that address these vulnerabilities, and now we have the opportunity to make a step change.”
Karen S. McCoy, MD, is chief of the section of pulmonary medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and chief of the division of pediatric pulmonology and associate professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
Jaionna Sharp has a new bicycle that she can’t ride. Severe asthma makes life for the 6-year-old anything but free-wheeling.
When she was about 2 years old, dander from her aunt’s dog Mickey sent Jaionna to the emergency room with her first life-threatening asthma attack. In spite of taking asthma medication daily, the child continues to have attacks severe enough to require emergency treatment.
“Pet dander, mold, dust and fragrances are triggers – we just learned about fragrances,” says her great aunt and guardian, Lisa Sharp. “It’s awful. Asthma hinders Jaionna from doing the things normal kids do. She can’t play outside; most of her friends have moved on.”
Because Jaionna associates the hospital with getting painful shots, she has become fearful that even “safe” activities will cause a severe attack. Fear limits her even more. Lisa is sad for Jaionna and frustrated that she is not doing better on her treatment plan, which they follow to the letter.
“Franklin County experiences the negative health effects that go along with being one of the most populous counties in Ohio, including poor outdoor air quality and influences such as poverty, stress and decreased access to health care. All of these factors combined can contribute to an increased incidence of asthma. Programs like the American Lung Association’s “Asthma 1-2-3™” and “Open Airways for Schools” initiatives provide education about asthma for school personnel and help young people living with asthma learn proper self-management skills.”
Gloria Ayres, RRT, RCP, AE-C, is program director for the American Lung Association in Ohio.