Asthma is a chronic disease that affects a person's ability to breathe.
When a person lives with asthma, he or she may experience symptoms like wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and chest tightening. When these symptoms present, it's known as an asthma attack, and it can be very frightening and potentially dangerous, as well. As with many ailments, knowledge and education is the first best defense against danger.
In Florida, about 1 in 12 adults and 1 in 10 children live with asthma. Some of the most common triggers of an asthma attack are outdoor air pollution, mold, smoke from burning wood or grass, and other environmental factors. During the spring when people are exposed to the outdoors much more, and bonfires, grass-cutting, and garden treatments may increase the amount of toxins or triggers in the air, people with asthma may be at much greater risk of hospitalization.
Tracking Asthma Hospitalizations
Because asthma is such a complex condition, it's difficult to report and is in fact a non-reportable disease in some states. The Environmental Public Health Tracking Network is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Florida's Department of Health to better record asthma hospitalization data. These efforts are being made in an attempt to understand the links between air quality and asthma hospitalizations.
Risks for Floridians with Asthma
The beautiful weather is one reason many enjoy living in Florida, but being consistently outdoors may in fact be a danger to individuals with asthma. The more time spent outdoors when air quality is poor, the higher the risk for an asthma attack.
Outdoor air quality impacts asthma sufferers in a number of ways. Ozone, which is found in smog, and particle pollution, which is associated with smoke and dust, are the chief contributors to air pollution and trigger many allergy attacks. Time spent outdoors in exposure to these elements as many Floridians often experience can send an asthma sufferer to the hospital with a severe reaction.
To learn more about asthma, visit the CDC.