CAI – Empowering Families Against Asthma

child with orange inhalerCurrently, approximately one in twelve people is afflicted with asthma living in the US. That means that about 8 percent of the population suffers from this condition, and the numbers are steadily increasing with each passing year. According to the most recent data available from the CDC, 9.3% of children in the US have asthma, or about 6.8million.

In December of 1997, the Children’s Health Fund  (founded in 1987) launched the Childhood Asthma Initiative. The goal of CAI is to provide families with information to help manage childhood asthma – particularly in underserved segments of the population.  Currently the Childhood Asthma Initiative publishes a family guide on managing asthma in children.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that can cause extreme difficulty in breathing. When the sufferer has an asthma attack, the bronchi in the lungs are essentially spasming causing the airways to be constricted. Once the airways are too narrow, the asthmatic will then undergo an asthma attack.

Asthma symptoms are different for everyone. However, the most common symptoms include: wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath,coughing and fatigue.

Asthma is known to strike people of all ages, and is especially common to start during childhood. Unfortunately, asthma doesn’t have a cure, only treatment and management options. However, there are certain triggers to be aware of that can help predict asthma attacks.

Another variation in asthma is the level of degree to which the patient is afflicted with this respiratory condition. Sufferers can have anything from an intermittent, to a mild persistent, to a moderate persistent to a severe persistent level of affliction. This basically reflects how severe your personal case of asthma is. Although this gradation reflects how often an asthmatic has symptoms or how severe they are, it’s important to keep in mind that anyone with asthma, regardless of the category is subject to getting very sick from an attack. This means that being prepared for a potential attack (ie knowing what to do, and having your medicine on hand) is important for all sufferers of asthma.

What are Common Triggers for Asthma Attacks?

Again, while these specific triggers can vary by person, there are certain things that have a propensity for inciting asthma attacks. Some of these culprits that live inside include; mold, dust and dust mites, cockroaches, housepets, rats and mice. This is just one more reason to keep your home clean! Things like pollen, change of seasons, plants, grass, flowers and trees can also set off a trigger outdoors for people with asthma. Cigarette smoke, strong smells and air pollution can also have a negative effect on someone with asthma.
In addition to these sorts of triggers, things like stress, cold air, illness, exercise and food allergies may incite an asthma attack. Knowing this, it’s important to keep in mind that managing stress levels and taking care of yourself is of the utmost importance if you suffer from asthma. It also means that indoors, it’s important to keep the house as clean, pest and odor-free as possible. Dusting and cleaning often (when the person with asthma isn’t around) is key. This also means it’s important for people with asthma to get tested for allergies so they know what their bodies don’t act to favorably.