Pediatric Asthma In Tennessee Valley Is Leading Cause Of School Absence

Monday, December 09, 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/ 


Alex Sheen To Speak Jan. 15

Alex Sheen will speak at a luncheon to benefit Blood Assurance at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 15 at the Double Tree Hotel in Downtown Chattanooga.  Alex is the founder of because I said I would, a social movement and nonprofit organization.  Through his philanthropic work, his personal commitments and the stories of his supporters, Alex speaks to audiences around the world ... (click for more)

Supreme Court Decides Hospitals Cannot Maintain Liens After Bills Paid In Full

In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court has decided that hospitals are required to release their hospital lien against a patient as soon as the patient and the patient’s insurance company have paid the full amount of the hospital charges. This lawsuit involves a common practice in the hospital industry. Hospitals charge uninsured patients more for the same services ... (click for more)

TVA Sues Cleveland's Allan Jones Over Dock, Retaining Wall, Boat Ramp, Boathouse On Hiwassee River

TVA has sued Cleveland, Tn., Check Into Cash millionaire W. Allan Jones Jr. over the construction of a dock, retaining wall, boat ramp and boathouse on the Hiwassee River. In the lawsuit in Federal Court, TVA said it told Mr. Jones before the construction was finished that he was on TVA property. The complaint says he has refused to move the construction from the river. ... (click for more)

Bobby Dodd Lawsuit Against City Moved To Federal Court

A lawsuit brought by former Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd against the city of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Fire and Police Pension Fund over his pension has been moved to Federal Court. The lawsuit was earlier filed in Chancery Court by attorneys Jerry Tidwell and Adam Izell. The suit says former Chief Dodd opted for a plan that would have half of his pension go to ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place - And Response

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 10 Tasks For This Week

In 1993 a 95-year-old man named William Snell created a list called “Life’s Little Instructions.” His list has swirled around in the Internet ever since and it is, indeed, a delightful checklist to keep us focused in the right direction. Curiously, when I read over it this past weekend, it dawned on me that if each of us would try to accomplish just 10 items on Mr. Snell’s list ... (click for more)