Written by Laura Michelle Burns
In a few short weeks, Americans will be faced with the choice of voting for their next President. We’ll head to the voting booths and cast votes on policies, representation in Congress and maybe a school levy or two. I will leave the polls relieved that I won’t have to watch any more commercials from competing parties trash-talking each others financial plan.
Here in Ohio, our economy has already taken a huge hit. Residents don’t have the same jobs or the same insurance benefits as they did even just four years ago. And while those changes have been taking place, Ohio’s rate of asthma has remained a concern, as the rising cost of asthma has many parents counting their pennies.
- There was a 6% increase in the cost of asthma for American families between 2002 and 2007.
- From 2001 to 2009, health care visits for asthma per 100 persons with asthma declined in primary care settings, while asthma emergency department visit and hospitalization rates were stable.
- For the period 2007–2009, black people had higher rates for asthma emergency department visits and hospitalizations per 100 persons with asthma than white persons, and a higher asthma death rate per 1,000 persons with asthma. Compared with adults, children had higher rates for asthma primary care and emergency department visits, similar hospitalization rates, and lower death rates.
- An estimated 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, with 250,000 annual deaths attributed to the disease.
Ohio Asthma Stories
Tessa, a mom of two is fortunate enough to have a good insurance plan. This is especially beneficial considering her son had his first asthma attack this past winter when he was only seven months old. Between the ER visit, subsequent hospital stay and the medications and nebulizer purchase, it’s no wonder she watched closely air quality reports before deciding if her boys could outside this summer and play. Even with good insurance, she wound up paying over $500 for asthma treatments so far this year.
Ben is a father of 6. Three of his children suffer from asthma and so does Ben. In one month, when all of them were struggling with the complications from asthma, they paid over $2,000 for medications and ER co-pays.
Missed School Days = Missed Work
Asthma is the leading cause of missed school days and the 4th leading cause for work absenteeism. Over half of the adults who have asthma in the US are forced to take time off work because of their health. Asthma is a disease we all hope our children will outgrow.
Children with asthma miss school. Parents caring for children with asthma, miss work. Missing school often leads to children falling behind in their studies and poor self esteem. Annually, missed work accounts for $3 billion dollars lost in productivity. This is not a cost we should be willing to pay.
As parents, we work to make sure we can provide for our children, we budget our money, we work overtime as necessary. No matter how careful we are with our money and our children’s health, there are factors that are out of our control. These factors swirl in our environment: such as exhaust and soot. Industrial air pollution causes a greatest amount of poor air quality, and industrial air pollution is largely responsible for 11% of asthma cases worldwide. This is where we need to ask those who represent us in government, to step up and be responsible.
Vote For Healthy Air
Toxic air pollution impacts our health, the health of our families, and the health of our planet. As the Presidential As the debates continue, we want to hear what the presidential candidates will do about global warming’s impact on our health. In November, let’s cut the cost of asthma and vote for healthy air.
Photo credit: Moms Clean Air Force