This post was written by Leigh Garofalow for Green4u:
I remember the day my son was given a prescription for his inhaler. I thought he just had an infection because he had been coughing in the morning, but otherwise seemed in good spirits. I got a call from school saying he was sick and I needed to pick him up. As we were waiting for the doctor to examine him, I watched his chest go up and down rapidly. As soon as the doctor came in, he looked at him and said “He needs a nebulizer treatment right now. He is working too hard to breathe.”
As an asthmatic myself, my heart sank. I knew this may be the first step down a path of good breathing days and bad ones. This particular warm August day had high ozone — poor air quality.
A mother and son suffering from asthma is not uncommon. In fact, boys are more likely to have asthma than girls, but women are more likely to have asthma than men.
When my daughter saw his inhaler she started listing names of kids in her class who used one. With eleven of the fifteen New Jersey counties with air quality monitors in New Jersey receiving an F from the American Lung Association 2015 State of the Air Report, the prevalence of asthma is no surprise.
I am sad that my son and my daughter’s friends will miss more school days than other children. It is estimated that among children ages 5 to 17, asthma is one of the leading causes of school absences. Asthma accounts for an annual loss of more than 10.5 million school days per year. The EPA estimates the annual cost of asthma to be $56 billion (hospitalizations, medication, loss of wages due to illness or care for the ill).
Since air quality is the biggest trigger of asthma and can cause acute reactions, we need to work on eliminating high ozone days and improving our air quality. That is why my daughter and I will head to Trenton on Monday, May 18th to speak to leaders about the need to for better air quality in New Jersey.
Join me by RSVPing to a Mama Summit near you and let your local leaders know that we care about air quality for everyone–especially those with inhalers in their pockets.
If you cannot make it, let us know in the comments what issues matter to you and what you want your leaders to know.