Asthma is the leading chronic illness among children in the United States, according to the American Lung Association.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 7.1 million children, or roughly one in ten, suffer from asthma.
In recent years, the number of children with asthma has been on the rise, especially among minority populations and low-income households, which may be more likely to contain common asthma triggers like mold, mildew, fragrance, dust and animal dander.
UnitedHealthcare and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization that brings children Sesame Street, are launching a child health initiative to help children and their families learn about these health issues and promote positive healthy habits.
A is for Asthma offers easy-to-understand materials- such as videos, activity sheets, and a newsletter- to help children and their families manage this condition. The materials are available in English and Spanish and feature Sesame Street characters such as Grover and Big Bird.
Local support for families living with asthma is available through Cardon Children’s Medical Center. They recently partnered with Banner Pediatric Pulmonary Specialists to arrange events where parents and children can easily access resources and the latest information on how to manage asthma.
Tips for Avoiding Asthma Triggers
- Keep your home clear of mold and mildew.
- Routinely check for mold and mildew especially in damp areas, like the bathroom or basement.
- Use fragrance-free products.
- Consider getting rid of things that have strong smells, such as perfumes or strong cleaners.
- Cut down on dust. Dust and dust mites are common asthma triggers. Instead of carpets, use bare wood floors or small area rugs, which can help.
- Wipe surfaces every day with a damp rag to get rid of dust. Even stuffed toys and security blankets can trap dust and dust mites. Try to keep only two favorite items on your child’s bed, and wash them weekly.
- Think about keeping fish or reptiles as pets. Exposure to the animal dander shed by furry and feathered animals can trigger asthma. (Not including, of course, Big Bird or any of the gang from Sesame Street.)