I understand how frustrating and difficult to be to have a child with asthma. You have to watch where you take them, make sure that they have their inhaler and make sure that they don’t become too mentally or physically worked up. If your child has recently been diagnosed with asthma, you’ll want to do some research to better educate the both of you on how to treat, deal with and live with asthma.
Children and Asthma

Statistics and Facts about Childhood Asthma From the American Lung Association

Since it’s one of the most prevalent chronic disorders for a child, there were roughly seven million children under the age of 18 diagnosed with asthma in 2012. Of those seven million, four million of them experienced either an asthma attack or an asthma-related episode in the year 2011.

The reason that an individual suffers from an asthmatic episode or attack is that their airways are either restricted or narrowed. The lining of their airways can swell, their muscles can become constricted and the accumulation of mucus can increase in their airways. All of these can contribute to wheezing or difficulty breathing.

Asthma is identified by lungs that are especially sensitive to a variety of stimuli. Such stimuli can include airborne particles and gases in the air that can irritate the lungs, viral infections, cigarette smoke, various allergens, pollution, frigid air, stress, extensive exercise, excitement and secondhand smoke.

It’s vital that asthma be properly managed in order for it not to become potentially fatal. The American Lung Association reported that in 2008, nearly 3,400 fatalities were caused by asthma. While asthma related deaths aren’t common with children, the number of deaths increases as children age. Approximately 160 children under the age of 15 died from asthma attacks in 2009 compared to the roughly 600 adults who were over the age of 85.

Asthma has been attributed as being the third most prevalent cause of child hospitalizations. In 2009, roughly 30 percent of asthma hospital releases were of children under 15. For that same year, only about 20 percent of America’s total population was under 15.

In 2012, the yearly direct healthcare cost of asthma was roughly 50 billion dollars. The indirect cost of asthma was enough to add about another six billion. Asthma has also been linked to students being absent from school. In the year 2008, asthma was attributed to approximately 14 million days of missed school for child students who suffered from asthma attacks for the year 2007.

Childhood Asthma Statistics from the AAAAI

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, AAAAI, has revealed that the number of people diagnosed with asthma has continued to increase. In 2009, one in 12 people in the United States was diagnosed with asthma compared to one in 14 in the year 2001. In 2008, more children, about 60%, than adults, roughly 50%, experienced an asthma attack. The AAAAI also reported that in 2007 about 190 children and an estimated 3,260 adults suffered a fatal asthma attack. Statistics have also shown that women have more chances of developing asthma than men and boys have more chances to develop asthma than girls.

In 2010, three out of five children who are asthmatic had at least one asthma attack in the last year. In 2009, an estimated one in six African-American children who are non-Hispanic were diagnosed with asthma, which is the highest recorded rating ever among ethnic and racial communities. From 2001 to 2009, the rates of diagnosed asthmatic individuals increased the most with African-American children, which was nearly a 50 percent increase.

Minority Children with Asthma

Studies have shown that minority children are more affected by asthma than Caucasian children.  African-American children are roughly one and a half times more like to be stricken with asthma when compared with Caucasian children. African-American children are also more than four times more likely to be admitted to the emergency room and three times more likely to have to be put in the hospital for asthma-related reasons. Statistics have also shown that 85 percent of children living in the inner city have uncontrolled asthma symptoms and an unbalanced exposure to allergens that can aggravate their asthma.

Other statistics have shown that Latino and African-American children receive roughly half as much outpatient treatment as Caucasian children. Minority children are also not as likely as Caucasian children to have a usual medical care provider where they can be treated for their asthma. Minority children are also more likely to be uninsured in addition to be less likely to receive the medical care they need for their asthma because their families simply can’t afford the cost. Children who don’t have well-controlled or treated asthma are as much as six times more likely to be admitted to the hospital because of their asthma.

Medical Costs

It’s estimated that it costs roughly eight billion dollars a year to treat asthmatic children. In the year 2006, there was an estimated 150,000 admittances to the hospital for asthmatic children and about 593,000 visits to the emergency room. In the state of Texas, it costs an estimated $100 for a child to visit the hospital because of an early stage asthma attack.

The costs of a full asthma attack and the resulting three-day hospital stay can add up to be as much as $7,300. One of the best ways to keep a child out of the hospital for asthma related reasons and to reduce the medical costs associated with asthma is to not only educate them about asthma, but for them to receive an asthma education that is specially tailored for them in addition to continuous treatment.

If your child has asthma, I recommend that you share this information with them so that they can get a better idea of what it means to be a child with asthma. Let them know that having asthma doesn’t mean that they can’t live a normal life and engage in the same activities as other children, just that they have to be more careful and know the signs of an oncoming asthma attack.

Reference Citations:

  • American Lung Association – http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/asthma/resources/facts-and-figures/asthma-children-fact-sheet.html
  • AAAAI – http://www.aaaai.org/about-the-aaaai/newsroom/asthma-statistics.aspx
  • Children’s Defense Fund –