Local News

N.C. Not Treating Asthma as it Should, Child Advocates Say

Posted November 23, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— Asthma is the No. 1 health-related reason that kids miss school. A child advocacy group is giving North Carolina low marks for diagnosing and treating asthma in children.

TheN.C. Child Advocacy Institutesays the number of children diagnosed with asthma, especially minority children, is increasing.

"When school nurses say asthma is the No. 1 chronic condition in our schools and one of the leading health absences, we're not where we need to be yet," says the institute's Tom Vitaglione.

Nurse Debbie Kirkland specializes in asthma education. She says more parents need to learn to recognize symptoms.

"Coughing is probably the No. 1 symptom in children, especially small children," she says.

Ena Foster tries to minimize dust in her home, because it aggravates her daughter's asthma. Doctors say controlling a child's environment is key to controlling asthma.

"This is something that is very serious," Foster says. "If you suspect your child does have asthma or any breathing problem, get it checked out."

Doctors say allergies to things like dust, mold and animals can trigger asthma attacks. Parents of children with asthma should keep them inside on days when the ozone level is high. Ozone can also trigger an attack.