Helping Children & Adults Breathe Easier
Asthma: A Growing Health Concern
In Sonoma County, over one in five school age children has been diagnosed with asthma in his/her lifetime. One in six children in California has been diagnosed with asthma, a serious chronic health condition. Asthma affects nearly 1.4 million children in the state and costs $667 million a year in hospital stays alone.
There are now more than 24 million Americans, including 7 million children, affected by asthma, accounting for 3 million lost work days and 10 million lost school days annually.
Common outdoor environmental triggers include diesel exhaust, tobacco smoke, wood smoke, and pollen. Indoor environmental triggers include mold, dustmites, cleaning supplies, chemicals, scented products, cockroaches, pests and animal dander. Common symptoms include breathlessness, rapid breathing, wheezing and sudden fatigue while exercising. People with asthma often suffer from recurrent sinus infections and frequent colds.
As a community we need to better understand the relationship of environmental triggers to the increased instance of asthma attacks. We need to work to reduce these triggers, recognize the signs of an asthma attack, make sure adults and children have asthma care action plans and medications, and access to their medications at the workplace and at school.
Symptoms of asthma are different for each person and can include a runny nose, nasal congestion, watery eyes, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, dizziness or headache, coughing fatigue, fever, skin rashes or itching and digestive problems.
In response to the growing local concern about asthma, the Sonoma County Asthma Coalition was formed under the leadership of the American Lung Association of California – Santa Rosa Office in 2002. There are approximately 30 organizations and individuals currently involved and working on subcommittees including Housing & Indoor Air Quality, Asthma in Schools, and the Steering Committee. See our “Members & Allies” page for list of members.
CAFA: Community Action to Fight Asthma
The Sonoma County Asthma Coalition, along with about 15 other asthma coalitions throughout California, is part of CAFA, a statewide network of asthma coalitions shaping local, regional and state policies to reduce the environmental triggers of asthma for school-aged children where they live, learn, and play. The CAFA initiative has been generously funded through grants from The California Endowment from 2003-2010. For more info: RAMP