Winter usually ushers in plenty of exciting outdoor activities for kids, like sledding and snowball fights. It’s a lot of fun, but the chilly air can be tough on kids with asthma.
“The cold, dry air of winter can really irritate a child’s asthma,” says Amy Burack, RN, MA, AE-C, program manager of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Community Asthma Programs, a division of the hospital’s Community Asthma Initiative (CAI).
And when asthma symptoms flair, it leads to more than discomfort. For many children, it can lead to a trip to the Emergency Department or worse, hospitalization. Asthma continues to be the leading admitting diagnosis at Children’s Hospital Boston.
To counteract those numbers Burack and her colleagues at the CAI have worked hard with families in local communities to help educate people about how to better manage their kids’ asthma. In five years the Initiative has successfully contributed to cost savings by reducing Emergency Department visits and hospitalizations and improved quality of life through a reduction in lost school days for children and missed work days for caregivers.
A recent report by the Asthma Regional Council of New England found that there were more documented asthma cases in New England than any other area of the county. New England asthma patients were also more likely than asthma suffers in other parts of the country to miss school, work and/or be hospitalized as a result of their condition.
And while asthma is a widespread chronic disease, affecting millions of kids everyday, it’s even more prevalent in low-income areas and among Latino and Black children. Their rate of hospital admissions is five times higher than for white children. …