According to data from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, Bronx residents have some of the highest asthma rates in the city, due to factors like highways that flow through the borough and air pollution.
This often leads to more visits to the emergency room. While most people are focused on COVID-19, parents need to start getting their children who have asthma ready for school, said Dr. Marina Reznik, an asthma clinical research specialist at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM).
”I think everybody needs to learn about asthma,” she said.
She stressed now is the time that parents, caregivers and children should be preparing their asthma action plans, which include being aware of specific symptoms, knowing which medications to take and when to go to the emergency department.
Additionally, it is important to check in with your pediatrician, either in-person or virtually, to discuss any concerns and ensure children have their correct asthma inhaler and medication prescription. Even if families and children are familiar with asthma, it is crucial to make sure the medications are still appropriate, review the medication doses and how to use them, Reznik said.
Children with asthma need two inhalers and a spacer, so the medication in the inhaler can reach their lungs easier. Lastly, with COVID-19, parents should make sure their kids’ immunizations are up to date.
Reznik recalled that when she first began working in the Bronx, she noticed many of her patients were going to the E.R. quite often. She began research and discovered that on top of genetics, air pollution and things like pollen and poor living conditions in the Bronx, where there are often moldy, leaky buildings with rodents, all trigger the disease.
“All those factors really contribute to why we are seeing so much asthma,” she explained.
Reznik noted if the city provided better housing, then some children may not have asthma or it may not be as severe.
“There has to be cooperation between the community and the Department of Health,” she remarked.