Pediatric Asthma In Tennessee Valley Is Leading Cause Of School Absence

Monday, December 9, 2013 - by Matthew Good, Chief of Staff, Children's Hospital at Erlanger

Asthma is a chronic medical condition that affects the lungs.  Patients can experience frequent cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain or tightness on a regular basis.  Occasionally a patient with asthma will suffer an “asthma attack.”   During an attack the airways in the lungs become inflamed, make excess mucous, and become constricted.   

An asthma attack causes significant trouble breathing and can lead to an emergency room visit, a hospital stay, or even death.  Infections, allergies, and irritants, such as cigarette smoke and pollution, can lead to an asthma attack.  Attacks can easily be prevented with regular doctor visits and effective and inexpensive medications.

About 7.1 million American children suffer from asthma, which is about 8 percent of all children, making it one of the most common chronic medical conditions of childhood.  Here in the Chattanooga area, however, 12.5 percent of our children have asthma, over 50 percent higher than the national average.  In fact, Chattanooga is the fifth worst city in the country for asthma according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.   WedMD places Chattanooga second.   

These poor rankings are due to low air quality and high cigarette smoke exposure.  Such a staggeringly high rate of asthma in a city conducive to asthma attacks brings the scope of this local problem into focus when considering the following nationwide facts:

Asthma is the number one reason children miss school
Asthma is third most common reason for a child to spend the night in the hospital
Asthma costs our nation $56 billion annually
157 children died from asthma in 2009

The most frustrating aspect of these alarming statistics lies in the relative ease in which asthma is treated and attacks are prevented.  Regular doctor visits and readily available medications virtually eliminate symptoms and prevent attacks.  In fact, a recent medical study showed that even eight percent of elite athletes from the last five Olympics suffered from asthma.  These athletes have doctors, take their medicine regularly and are able to compete at the highest level of their sport.  Yet, in Chattanooga, one in five children does not have a primary care doctor. Seven percent of Hamilton County’s children have no insurance at all.  Twenty percent of babies in Chattanooga grow up breathing second hand cigarette smoke.  This area has childhood obesity rates 25 percent higher than national averages.  These factors all play a detrimental role in the lives of Chattanooga’s asthmatic children.

The Pediatric Healthcare Improvement Coalition—Tennessee Valley (PHIC—TV) is a community health partnership striving to decrease the negative impact of asthma on all Tennessee Valley children.  PHIC-TV is currently implementing a strategic initiative to define the asthma challenges for children and organize the means to address them.  Please invest in the ongoing work of PHIC-TV and get more information at healthychattanoogakids.blogspot.com. 

Pediatric Healthcare Improvement Coalition – Tennessee Valley
P.O. Box 96
Signal Mountain, TN  37377

Email: healthychattanoogakids@gmail.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Healthychattanoogakids 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PHIC_TN 
BlogSpot: http://healthychattanoogakids.blogspot.com/ 


Pratt Home Builders To Host Ironman Training Event

Pratt Home Builders will host 4 Ironman training events for the twelve athletes who will be participating as Emily’s Power for a Cure Team in the 2015 Chattanooga Ironman competition scheduled for September 27. The first event will be Sunday, March 8 starting at 2:30 p.m.  Andy Sweet, a trainer at HUB Endurance, has set this challenge as a 3 mile pace training event. Each ... (click for more)

CHI Memorial To Host "Cancer Care, Today" Conference

CHI Memorial will host “Cancer Care, Today” to help educate the community about treatment advances, forward-thinking nutrition and emotional support, and access to specialists at CHI Memorial’s Rees Skillern Cancer Institute. Question and answer sessions will be open after each presentation. A light breakfast is provided. “Cancer Care, Today” is free for all attendees. The ... (click for more)

Deputy Beaten After Vehicle Crashes In His Yard Sues Officers

A man who was mistakenly beaten by officers who had been pursuing a pickup truck that crashed into his home has sued Hamilton County and the officers for $700,000. Aaron Lucas Shelton and his wife, Heather Nicole Shelton, filed the suit in Circuit Court. Aaron Shelton is himself a deputy sheriff. It names Curtis Brian Killingsworth and unknown officers who allegedly took part ... (click for more)

Signal Council, Residents Concerned About Unsafe Driving En Route To Schools

The town council of Signal Mountain is dealing with a traffic problem caused by increased traffic to and from Signal Mountain Middle High School and Nolan Elementary. Mayor Dick Gee said, “This is a tough issue that we wouldn’t have to deal with if everyone would drive responsibly.” The main concern is for safety and in November the council agreed to try to fix the problem by ... (click for more)

Net Neutrality: The Beginning Of The End Or Just A New Beginning?

“The Internet is simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field,” says Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, “Today’s order is more powerful and more expansive than any previously suggested.”  The FCC’s vote for so-called Net Neutrality purports to allow the agency to regulate the Internet as a public utility.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden On March 1

As I try to do at the beginning of each month, I stroll through my garden to see the good and the bad. This morning there is still a solid covering of snow but, as usual, there is still a lot to see. March is historically known for “coming in like a lion and leaving like a lamb” so let’s see who gets what: A LAMB to the fact 90-year-old Floyd Hartwig of Easton, Calif., and his ... (click for more)