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/ 


CHI Memorial Awarded Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers

CHI Memorial has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers. The Gold Seal of Approval and the Heart-Check mark represent symbols of quality from their respective organizations.  CHI Memorial underwent a rigorous onsite review ... (click for more)

Assisted Living Locators Launches Newest Office In Chattanooga

Assisted Living Locators announce the launch of its Assisted Living Locators franchise in Chattanooga.  Assisted Living Locators provides a free, community-oriented, hands-on assistance in locating quality assisted living options in the Southeast Tennessee and Northern Georgia area.The franchise is owned by John R. Rouser, an Assisted Living Locators Elder Care advisor. ... (click for more)

Cleveland Councilman Banks Critical Of City Manager Casteel, But Several Council Members Come To Her Defense

Cleveland City Councilman Richard Banks on Tuesday afternoon was critical of City Manager Janice Casteel, but several other council members came to her defense.   The council, at the end of the discussion, voted to establish an evaluation process for city employees.   Ben Moore, a retired pharmacist and life-long resident of Cleveland told the council ... (click for more)

City Council Looking Into Need For City Court

City Council Chair Carol Berz on Tuesday brought up the issue of whether, under its charter, the city is required to have a City Court. She also asked Assistant City Attorney Phil Noblett to look into the issue of whether the city is required to have two divisions of City Court. Attorney Noblett said he also will look into the ramifications of the Municipal Court Reform Act ... (click for more)

County Officials Need To Provide A Decent Animal Shelter

Once upon a time, a group of citizens concerned about the decaying building housing the Humane Educational Society on Highland Park raised their voices in an outcry about the deplorable state of the HES facility and the over-population of unwanted and unspayed/unneutered cats and dogs in Hamilton County.   What happened then was that the City Council stepped ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Two More Kick Out UAW

Woody Hayes, the great Ohio State football coach, used to teach his players to “paralyze resistance with persistence” but, my word, the likable theory has taken quite a beating in the past two years at the NTN-Bower ball-bearing plant in Hamilton, Ala. The workers there voted to decertify from the United Auto Workers union two years ago but getting the UAW out the door has turned ... (click for more)