School-aged children with early chronic illness: Asthma
August 04, 2008
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways and a major health problem among school age children. More than 3.8 million children in the United States experience an asthma attack each year. Children in New York City have the highest national rate of asthma hospitalizations, and asthma is the most common reason for a child in New York City to be hospitalized. Children in the inner city are disproportionately affected when compared to the general population, with prevalence and mortality rates two to five times the national average. Within New York City, the Bronx has the highest rates of hospitalization and death from asthma. We as a group were so alarmed by this information that we posed two questions for this project.
1. Why are the Bronx Children more vulnerable than any other child in the United States?
2. Can a community public health nurse make a difference?
Asthma is the most common chronic illness affecting children; it is associated with more than 200.000 hospitalizations, 570, 000 emergency room visits and 3 million office visits annually for young children, and thus direct medical expense is at 500 million dollars for children under the age of 17(Journal of School of Health, May 2003 Vol. 73, No5). It occurs in 5% of all children in grades 1-12, and even higher in specific communities, the rates having doubled in the past 15 years (Calabrese et al.1999). African American children are 20 % more likely to get asthma than a Caucasian child and the annual death rate due to asthma is increasing in African American children faster than in Caucasian children. According to recent studies, the prevalence of asthma in Puerto Rican children in the Bronx was two times higher...