Breathing easy is hard when you’re Black, literally and figuratively. African Americans are 3 times more likely to be hospitalized for asthma than other races. Blacks face an uphill battle with asthma. Access to quality healthcare is often non-existent or inconsistent, philosophical differences in treating asthma amongst physicians and sub-par housing/work conditions that promote allergens all contribute to the prevalence of asthma. Black children have the second highest chance (1.6 times) of developing asthma in comparison to other minorities (Puerto Ricans are first at 2.4).
You want to make sure that your child is safe at school, daycare, summer camp or any other place. Here is a checklist from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to help you in deciding if the space your child is entering into is safe for their asthma needs.
1. Is the place free of tobacco smoke at all times?
The lingering effects of tobacco smoke even if for a short while can increase the child’s chances of aggravating or developing asthma. When you smoke in the house it adds to the dust, pet dander and other air particles that are hidden to the human eye, but harmful to the body. If you don’t change the filters to your A/C unit, these smoke particles can cling to it and cause your A/C to overwork and break down. Smoke remnants attach themselves to your coats, electronics and any other things that emit heat causing a cycle of harmful pollutants to be recycling over and over again in your air.
2. Are these allergens and pollutants eliminated or reduced ?
Cockroaches, dust mites, mold, furry pets and strong odors or fumes all cause allergens that promote the prevalence of asthma. Let’s start with cockroaches. This insect not only eats everything that doesn’t eat it, but it will eat away at the pure air you’re breathing. When the body of a cockroach is decomposed it releases harmful allergens that affect and contribute to your child’s asthma. Bottom line, keep your home or other environments free of cockroaches and you’ll be good. Be sure to dust off your appliances, electronics and every other nook and cranny to get rid of all the mites that block up your bronchial tubes. Mr. Fluffy, a.k.a. everyone’s favorite dog, also needs to be bathed and groomed on a regular basis to stop pet dander and every other thing that furry animals bring with them from the outside. Dogs are for lack of a better term “mini living dust mops.”
3. Where are the professionals ?
You need a medical or nursing consultant around. You don’t need Jojo’s mother who knows a lil something something about asthma giving your asthmatic child advice. You need a trained professional giving your child advice on what to do, when to do it and how to do it. The last thing you want is bad advice that leads to your child being hospitalized or worse, death.
Safety First This Summer: Your Child’s Asthma Checklist was originally published on blackdoctor.org