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Environment Matters Audio Podcast

Environment Matters
EPA Region 3
Topic: Helping Children Breathe Easier
Size: : 3,219k
Time: 03:26

Date: December 4, 2013

Dr. Tyra Bryant-Stephens: One out of twelve people are affected; 20 million people in the United States and of that seven million are children.

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Host: That was Doctor Tyra Bryant-Stephens, director of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Community Asthma Prevention Program. Hi, I'm Lena Kim...and welcome to Environment Matters, our series of environmental podcasts.

Host: Asthma is a serious and sometimes life-threatening chronic respiratory disease which affects the quality of life for millions of people, including children. Doctor Bryant-Stephens tells us how the epidemic of asthma can be controlled through medical treatment and management of environmental triggers.

Dr. Tyra Bryant-Stephens: You're right to refer to it as an epidemic because it effects so many people. It's a very important a very prevalent issue among children in the United States. However caregivers of these children are aware that some of the triggers of their asthma flares or asthma attacks can actually be found in the home; pet dandruff, dust mites, dust, and cockroaches.

Host: Doctor, what are some preventative measures families can practice at home?

Dr. Tyra Bryant-Stephens: There are many simple things that families can do being diligent about cleanup after meals and reduce pest exposures, filling cracks with caulk so that mice can't get through. Other simple measures include cleaning baseboards with hot water, using mattress and pillow covers, and with families with pets you want to reduce pet dander by shampooing the pet at least once a week.

Host: Are there populations that are more vulnerable to asthma triggers? 

Dr. Tyra Bryant-Stephens: It is disturbing that there still in this day and time the disparities among racial and ethnic groups in terms of asthma hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and deaths. There are a number of issues that contribute to the disparities; inadequate access to health care, inadequate access to guideline basis healthcare in the population. More tangible reasons include housing, poor dilapidated housing, geographic isolations and not having social supports that they need. Many times there are competing family priorities such as access to food or secure housing so caregivers really don't have time to focus on the needs of the children with asthma.

Host: Doctor, what are some of the resources available out there?

Dr. Tyra Bryant-Stephens: Some health departments do provide healthy homes type of initiatives where families may qualify to have someone come to their home and help them mitigate some of these triggers. There's lots of information on our website. We also work with schools to make sure they are aware of known triggers for children and that those are also mitigated in the school environment and daycare as well.

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Host: For more information on the Community Asthma Prevention Program, visit www.chop.edu/capp. For further reading on asthma awareness, visit www.epa.gov/asthma.  Thanks to Doctor Bryant-Stephens, and thank you for listening to Environment Matters.

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