Childhood Asthma Big Problem in Alameda County

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    NEWSLETTERS

    One-third of people living in Oakland experience some of the highest asthma disparities in the state. Cheryl Hurd reports. (Published Thursday, Jan 23, 2014)

    Some people refer to it as the battle to breathe. Childhood asthma is a major problem in the United States.

    It’s an even a bigger problem in the Bay Area. In fact, one-third of people living in Oakland have asthma, one of the highest asthma rates in the state.

    The triggers might be inside the home.

    Alameda County is home to thousands of asthma sufferers. Many people go inside for relief, but in some cases, inside the home could be the problem.

    Asthma sufferers often blame the smog-filled air they breathe outside for their condition. Candace Powers is learning that the air her son breathes inside their Oakland home may also be a problem.

    “This is the only place that I’ve noticed that my son’s allergies are really bad, and the asthma kicks in here because of the dust and the mold,” Powers said.

    Powers said her son Devin has asthma. He was diagnosed when he was a baby.

    According to the Alameda County Public Health Department, more than one-third of Oakland’s population is considered at-risk for health problems. A large number of children who live in low-income areas suffer from asthma and the interior of their homes could be the problem.

    Alameda County has a program designed to help those families.

    “We understand that sometimes parents don’t understand in-home asthma triggers. That’s why we provide them the education technical assistance,” said Araceli Tellez, a healthy home specialist.

    Tellez believes education can help families learn what cleaning products to use to avoid asthma attacks and the program can help clients go after landlords to better maintain their property.

    Health officials believe asthma is often misunderstood, and especially in the Bay Area, education is the key.

    “Asthma is not to be taken lightly,” Tellez said. “Yes, it can be deadly.”