In Chicago, the childhood asthma rate has been reported to be on average 13%; however, the burden is unequally distributed, with 20% of Black children compared to 10% of White children affected. Puerto Rican children have also been found to have high asthma rates, at approximately 20%. Humboldt Park has the city's largest Puerto Rican community and a high percentage of African American families and has identified asthma as a significant problem. The Sinai Improving Community Health Survey found that as many as 1 in 3 children in Humboldt Park may have asthma, a rate which far exceeds the city average of 13%.
Having a blood relative (such as a parent or sibling) with asthma
Having an allergic condition, such as atopic dermatitis or allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
Being a smoker
Exposure to secondhand smoke
Having a mother who smoked while pregnant
Exposure to exhaust fumes or other types of pollution
Exposure to occupational triggers, such as chemicals used in farming, hairdressing and manufacturing
Low birth weight
Shortness of breath
Chest tightness or pain
Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
An audible whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling (wheezing is a common sign of asthma in children)
Bouts of coughing or wheezing that are worsened by a respiratory virus such as a cold or the flu
Mayo Clinic - Asthma
Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago
American Lung Association in Greater Chicago
Erie Family Health Center
HealthCare Alternative Systems (HAS)
Sinai Health System
Chicago Asthma Consortium
Information obtained from the Mayo Clinic Asthma webpage
If you would like more information about the work of the Asthma Task Force, or to join, please contact the task force chair, Maureen Damitz: Mdamitz@cchil.org
Illinois Tobacco Quitline
The Illinois Tobacco Quitline is a partnership between the Illinois Department of Public Health and the American Lung Association of Illinois. They offer a variety of resources and support to help smokers quit.
One such resource is finding smoking cessation classes in your area. You can do so by clicking the following: http://www.lungusa.org/associations/states/illinois/events-programs/freedom-from-smoking-1.html.
Asthma First Aid (Asma Primero Auxilios)
From the Chicago Asthma Consortium website
This article describes the finding of a pilot project designed to impact of Lay Health Educators (LHE) in reducing asthma morbidity and improving the quality of life for inner-city African American children with poorly controlled asthma. Two Lay Educators were trained as a part of the study and did home visits to study participants 3-4 times over 6 months. The LHEs' gave individualized asthma education to every family. Participants who completed all sessions were found to have less frequent visits to the emergency room, improved quality of life, improved use of asthma medication and had fewer asthma triggers in the home.
Through the support of a grant from Northwestern University’s Community-Based Participatory Research Project, the Asthma Task Force has developed and implemented a survey to assess real asthma levels in 2 Humboldt Park Schools. The survey also seeks to understand community perceptions and beliefs around asthma. This work will hopefully lead to the hiring of several Community Health Educators, who will work with affected families to help them better understand and control asthma.