People Worldwide to Focus on Ways to Beat Asthma

May 02, 2000

The second annual World Asthma Day will be held Wednesday, May 3, and the staff at Children's Hospital at Strong is spreading the word.

Among the goals of World Asthma Day are to increase awareness of asthma as a global healthcare problem and communicate scientific progress being made.

The theme of World Asthma Day is "Let Every Person Breathe." Organizers want to emphasize the need for asthma sufferers worldwide to have access to timely diagnosis, receive appropriate treatment, learn how to manage their asthma in partnership with a health professional, and enjoy reduced exposure to environmental factors that make asthma worse.

World Asthma Day is truly an international event. It includes a virtual Internet convention that will help link the national celebrations of World Asthma Day in more than 150 countries around the world.

Staff members at Children's Hospital at Strong are strong advocates for these types of events, which raise asthma awareness. Karen Voter, M.D., Eulalia Cheng, M.D., and Elaine Philipson, R.N., a nurse practitioner at Children's Hospital at Strong, work closely with about 300 children who have asthma. In addition, additional staff members are leaders in asthma research and innovation. Here's a sampling of these efforts:

  • As explained in the January 2000 issue of Pediatrics, as many as 2 million U.S. children with moderate to severe asthma are not taking recommended preventive medications. Lead author Jill Halterman, M.D., found that 74 percent of children weren't receiving recommended asthma medications.
  • Children's Hospital at Strong has established In Home Hospital-Level Care Program, which deals with children that have many types of illnesses, including asthma. Rather than be hospitalized for their condition, a nurse comes to the child's home and treats him or her there. This saves society money, takes stress off the family, and allows the child to recover in familiar surroundings instead of having to adapt to the hospital.
  • Physicians also learned that local hospitals are using more stringent criteria to admit childhood asthma patients. While the number of childhood asthma sufferers being admitted to all Rochester-area hospitals remained stable between 1991 and 1995, those who were admitted more recently suffered from more severe flare-ups of asthma. That research was published in the September 1999 issue of Pediatrics.

World Asthma day is organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma, a collaborative effort of the World Health Organization and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

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