Asthma is a serious, sometimes life-threatening disease…and one that affects almost 20 million people in the United States. As we close out Asthma Awareness Month, it is important for Milwaukeeans to remember: Milwaukee is one of the worst asthma cities in the U.S.
Milwaukee is plagued by asthma more than most cities in the U.S. and is in the midst of an asthma crisis. As recently as 2009, Milwaukee ranked second in the prevalence of asthma, and has been in the top 5 worst cities for asthma for almost a decade. Asthma is the number one admitting diagnosis at Children’s Hospital ER and third leading cause of all pediatric hospital admissions. It is also the number one cause of school absenteeism.
There are many uncontrollable triggers that can cause an asthma attack, but one trigger we can control is exposure to cigarette smoke.
Cigarette smoke can permanently damage lungs. It contains more than 250 toxic chemicals that are known to cause cancer; it also causes a person to cough, wheeze and have chest tightness and shortness of breath.
If you have asthma and smoke, the best thing you can do is quit. And if you have a child in the house, don’t risk their lungs and life; you should take it outside.
When a child is exposed to tobacco smoke, their lungs become irritated and airways become swollen and inflamed making them much narrower and harder to breathe. According to the American Lung Association, an estimated 400,000 to one million asthmatic children have their condition worsened through exposure to secondhand smoke
Let’s make it a little bit easier for those with asthma to breathe. Let’s not expose them unnecessarily to secondhand smoke.
Member, Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network