Poor Air Quality and My Family: Why I Need To Speak Up #MamaSummitNJ

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 11.35.06 PMI remember the day my son was given a prescription for his inhaler, I thought he just had an infection. He had been coughing in the morning but otherwise seemed in good spirits. I got a call from school stating they thought he was sick and to come pick him up. As we were waiting for the doctor to come in and examine him I watched his chest go up and down rapidly. As soon as the doctor came in he just looked at him and said “he needs a nebulizer treatment right now. He is working too hard to breathe.”

My heart sank as an asthmatic myself I knew that this could be the first step down a path of lots of good days with no problems and some bad days where it is hard to just play outside. This day was a warm August day with high ozone (poor air quality) and it would be the first of many days that he may not get to play as hard as he wants to.

This model of mother and son asthma suffering is not uncommon in fact boys are more likely to have asthma than girls, but women are more likely to have asthma than men.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 11.35.17 PMWhen my daughter saw his inhaler she started listing names of kids in her class who had one and she even mentioned that many of them had used theirs that day. With thirteen of the fourteen counties with air quality monitors in New Jersey received a grade of an F from the American Lung Association State of the Air Report for 2014 I was not surprised.

My daughter realized at a young age that she is lucky that she does not need an inhaler like me, her brother and her friends. She sits with her brother when he does his nebulizer on particularly bad days to comfort him and make him feel more relaxed when he needs to use it. She try’s to explain to him that he will feel better and be able to play with her when he done but at his young age he does not always understand her message.

I am sad that my son and my daughters friends will miss more school days than other children, in fact it is estimated that among children ages 5 to 17, asthma is one of the leading causes of school absences. It accounts for an annual loss of more than 10.5 million school days per year. The country is bearing the expense of this because the EPA estimates the annual cost of asthma is estimated 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 improve our air quality.

My daughter and I will be headed to Trenton on Monday, May 18th to speak to leaders about the need to for better air quality in New Jersey and discuss what measures can be taken to improve our quality of life so that my son and my daughters friends can play outside as much as they want without needing an inhaler.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 11.35.38 PMJoin me by RSVPing to Moms Clean Air Force and let our local leaders know we care about air quality for everyone especially those with inhalers in their pockets.

If you cannot make it tell me what issues matter to you and do you want you leaders to know?


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