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Black Children and Asthma: 10 Home Care Tips to Reduce Asthma Attacks

coldcare.jpg African American children with asthma have a death rate 7 times that of non-Hispanic White children, according to recent stats. Learn what you can do in your home to limit asthma attacks and hospitalizations. Let’s keep our kids healthy! 

African American Children and Asthma: What Black Paents Can Do at Home to Reduce Asthma Attacks 


According to the Office of Minority Health:

  • From 2003-2005, African American children had a death rate 7 times that of non-Hispanic White children.
  • African Americans had asthma-related emergency room visits 4.5 times more often than Whites in 2004.
  • Black children have a 260% higher emergency department visit
    rate, a 250% higher hospitalization rate, and a 500% higher death rate
    from asthma, as compared with White children.
  • Few experiences are more stressful for families than emergency room visits and hospitalizations for children.  Fortunately, while some hospitalizations are unavoidable, they can be minimized, and even sidestepped, with proper home care. Recent research suggests that there are many causes for asthma
    attacks, ranging from air pollution and roach droppings to immune
    system changes that result from the presence, or lack of, certain
    microbes (allergy-causing organisms that can’t be seen with the naked
    eye).  The biggest problem, however, is that few parents
    realize just how toxic the home environment can be for young asthmatic

     The Visiting Nurse Service of New York,
    the nation’s largest not-for-profit home health care organization, has
    developed in-depth expertise to provide the best care to New Yorkers in
    their homes, including those families with asthmatic children. 
    to Sandra Eger-McTernan, RN, MSN, CPNP, a VNSNY pediatric nurse
    specialist, “While there are a number of different views on the causes
    of pediatric asthma, there are several surefire steps that parents can take at home to reduce the risk of hospitalizations.”

    ·               Go green.  The use of four or more household cleaners in one home can increase the incidence of asthma in adults and children.  However, children breathe at a faster rate than adults, which puts them at greater risk for harm.  Look for environmentally-friendly cleaning products with non-toxic ingredients.

    ·               Beware of scents:  Household air pollution that cause or worsen asthma in children can come for surprising sources, including incense, perfumes and air fresheners, fresh paint and new carpeting.  As much as possible, children should be breathing fresh air at home.  (Just because something smells good, doesn’t mean it isn’t polluting the air or isn’t potentially dangerous.)

    ·               Air things out.  Open the windows after cleaning your home with chemicals.  Many people believe that the smell of bleach implies a clean home or nursery, but it can be harmful.

    ·               Be smoke-free.  Households with children should be “no smoking” zones.  If you smoke cigarettes, make it your goal to quit and never allow guests to light up in your home.

    ·               Make your home dust free. Damp
    mop often. Wipe down all surface areas, picture frames, bookshelves.
    Avoid collections of furry toys. Vacuum carpets often.

    ·               Make your home fur-free.  Avoid keeping pets in the home.  If you must have pet, keep it confined to areas other than your child’s bedroom and keep the bedroom door closed at all times.

    ·               Keep food in the kitchen.  Food
    should be stored and eaten in appropriate locations and not in your
    child’s bedroom or other rooms, and keep surfaces free of standing water
    as it can attract allergy-causing roaches.

    ·               Turn on the AC.  Use
    air conditioners when possible, but remember to clean out air filters
    every year. Avoid humidifiers as they can be a breeding ground for
    unhealthy molds. When using fans, clean the blades and ensure the area
    is dust free prior to use.

    ·               Spread the word.  Ask
    those who care for your children, like babysitters or relatives, to
    take the above precautions in their own homes, if your child spends more
    than several days a week there.

    ·               Get vaccinated.  Children
    who have had 12 or more severe respiratory (lung) infections in the
    first few years of life are at a significantly increased risk of asthma.  To reduce the risk of lung infections, asthmatic children should get the flu shot every year.

    ·               Wash up.  Frequent hand washing by both parents and children can lessen the risk of childhood lung infections.  Make an effort to teach your kids this healthy habit as early as possible.

    For further information on pediatric home care you can visit www.vnsny.org/home-health-care-and-you/planning/caring-for-your-child/.


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