February is Black History Month!
TACP would like to draw your attention to the disproportionate burden of asthma on the African American population across the country and in Texas. According to the CDC, Black children are twice as likely to be hospitalized and four times as likely to die from asthma as white children in the U.S. overall. Texas data shows that our hospital discharge rates for children are more than three times higher among blacks than among whites, as demonstrated on the graph below. The rates were also higher for adults at 11.8% for Blacks, 8.6% for Whites, and 4.2% for Hispanics in Texas.
• An estimated 7.3% of adults and 9.1% of children have asthma. This means that more than 1.4 million adults and 617,000 children have asthma in Texas.
• Asthma Medicaid expenditures totaled $28.7 million among adults and $91.9 million among children in 2013.
• Adult asthma prevalence is highest among females, blacks, current smokers, persons with medical insurance, persons with a lower household income, and those who were obese.
• The asthma mortality rate decreased from 11.5 per 1 million people in 2002 to 7.8 per 1 million people in 2012.
• Most pediatric asthma emergency department patients didn’t have an asthma action plan. The prevalence was highest among uninsured patients.
• About 36.0% of adults with current asthma missed one or more days of work due to their asthma in the past 12 months.
• Half of children with current asthma missed one or more days of school due to their asthma in the past 12 months.
It’s Flu Vaccine Time!
Persons with asthma are at higher risk for influenza-related complications, such as pneumonia. Most people with asthma do not receive an annual flu vaccination, even though they are at high risk of developing complications after contracting the influenza virus. Most people now have access to free flu vaccines through their health insurance plans or through their local health departments. Low cost vaccines are available at many pharmacies in the fall and winter. Health care providers need to explain flu risks to their patients with asthma and offer the vaccination to them every year. People with asthma need to take charge of their health by getting the flu vaccine every fall. If you have asthma or know someone with asthma, help them get their flu vaccine. And you can help by getting one yourself!
CDC guidance on asthma and the flu vaccine: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/asthma/
Download a fact sheet: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/updated/treating_flu.pdf
Help Protect Student Health - Join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) School Flag Program!
The School Flag Program alerts schools to the local air quality forecast and helps them to take actions to protect students' health, especially those with asthma. Here's how it works: each day the school raises a flag that corresponds to how clean or polluted the air is. The color of the flag matches EPA's Air Quality Index (AQI): green, yellow, orange, red, and purple. On unhealthy days, schools can use this information to adjust physical activities to help reduce exposure to air pollution, while still keeping students active. Encourage your school and the schools in your community to adopt the School Flag Program -- use the Get Started tab at http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=school_flag_program.index to begin!
Consider applying for the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Awards for Excellence in Texas School Health Reaching for Excellence Grant to help jumpstart this program in your school today!
Sign up for Texas Asthma News Alerts
Looking for a way to stay up-to-date on asthma related news? Sign up for our Texas Asthma News Alerts information list. For more information or to sign up, click here.
North East ISD Asthma Awareness Education Program
Congratulations to Diane Rhodes, Assistant Director of the North East ISD (NEISD) Asthma Awareness Education Program (AAEP), and her team for receiving the coveted Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 National Leadership Award in Asthma Management. The award recognizes exemplary asthma management programs that are using innovative approaches to improve patient health and quality of life. NEISD, which is located in San Antonio, serves 67,000 students, including more than 8,000 children with asthma. AAEP is the first school-based asthma program to receive this prestigious award, and one of only three award recipients this year.
NEISD utilizes the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program framework, which addresses four overlapping components of a comprehensive program:
The program works to:
Increase asthma awareness in the school community,
Train school nurses, administration and staff on asthma management for the student population,
Provide education, tools and other services to help school staff address the needs of students with asthma and to create and maintain good indoor air quality for all students and staff,
Address environmental asthma triggers in schools through training for custodial staff and monthly meetings with facilities staff,
Assure each student with asthma has an asthma action plan that details medicine dosage and usage, and actions to take in the event of exacerbated symptoms, and
Provides in-home case management to include personalized counseling, identification and reduction of asthma triggers in the home, and coordination to assure the child has a medical home.
NEISD program efforts have reduced asthma symptoms and trips to the emergency department, and increased attendance rates among students with asthma.
For more information on the NEISD’s Asthma Awareness and Education Program, visit their website: http://www.neisd.net/env_health/