Asthma is a disease that causes the airways of the lungs to tighten, making it difficult to breathe. Asthma symptoms, including wheezing and shortness of breath, can be caused by allergens or irritants that are inhaled into the lungs.
Asthma is the most common chronic disease facing children, accounting for 10.1 million missed days of school, and is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization among those under 15 years of age. At its worst, asthma can be deadly.
In the last few years, the disease has become an emergent public health concern in the United States. In Louisiana, one in ten households with children has at least one child who is asthmatic. Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children, affecting an estimated 4.8 million children under the age of 18 in the United States.
Asthma attacks occur when the lungs are not getting enough air to breathe. Triggers of asthma attacks include mold, dust bites, secondhand smoke, cockroaches, cats, dogs and air pollution. Some people are more at risk of getting asthma than others, depending on family history and exposure to asthma triggers at work or at home.