A new report from the National Center for Health Services (a division of the CDC) now reports a noticeable decline in asthma rates for kids under 17 between 2001-20013, although there was a spike of 8.6% in 2014. While government officials are not sure why, they attribute declines in air pollution, as well as a (possible) leveling off in childhood obesity as possible causes. While rates among black children seemed to fluctuate more than other groups, the biggest decline in asthma in the most recent years were seen in kids under 5, as well the Mexican population in the US. However, they plateaued among whites and those living in the Northeast and West, and actually increased in those aged 10 to 17, kids from poor families and those living in the South.
Akinbami based her results on yearly in-person government health surveys in which parents of more than 150,000 kids were asked if their children had been diagnosed with asthma. While she considered the news to be good, she also remained cautious over the results, noting that things can change dramatically from year-to-year, including climate changes that prolong children’s exposure to pollen as the weather stays warmer for more extended periods of time in many parts of the country. At the same time, children living in or attending schools in areas close to highways and other congested traffic sites may not be benefiting as much from the improved air quality seen in other places.
Despite the report, (published Monday in the journal Pediatrics), asthma remains one of the most common long-term diseases of children (as well as some adults), and causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing at night or early in the morning. Those who have the disease have it all the time, but generally only have attacks when something bothers their lungs, or causes undo emotional stress, causing chest tightness as the airways in the lungs narrow. The most common triggers include air pollution, obesity, tobacco smoke, premature birth and respiratory infections in infancy
While there is no cure for asthma, many adults seem to outgrow its symptoms. In the meantime, it can be controlled using medication. For more information readers can contact the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American
Note: Those using Ventolin HFA albuterol sulfate inhalers should be aware that 128,704 of them were voluntarily recalled by Gl;axoSmithKline on December 22 due to defective delivery systems in which some canisters may not contain sufficient propellant to deliver the labeled claim of 200 actuations through the end of shelf life. The recall involves Lot #s: 5ZP1708, Exp. 12/2016; 5ZP1951, Exp. 02/2017 of 90 mcg per actuation, 200 Metered Inhalations, Rx Only, For Oral Inhalation Only, Net Wt. 18 g, devices.