Few experiences are more stressful for families than emergency room visits and hospitalizations for children. According to the Office of Minority Health:
- African Americans had asthma-related emergency room visits 4.5 times more often than Whites in 2004.
- Black children have a 260% higher emergency department visit rate, a 250% higher hospitalization rate, and a 500% higher death rate from asthma, as compared with White children.
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Fortunately, while some hospitalizations are unavoidable, they can be minimized, and even sidestepped, with proper home care. Recent research suggests that there are many causes for asthma attacks, ranging from air pollution and roach droppings to immune system changes that result from the presence, or lack of, certain microbes (allergy-causing organisms that can’t be seen with the naked eye). The biggest problem, however, is that few parents realize just how toxic the home environment can be for young asthmatic children.
The Visiting Nurse Service of New York, the nation’s largest not-for-profit home health care organization, has developed in-depth expertise to provide the best care to New Yorkers in their homes, including those families with asthmatic children.
According to Sandra Eger-McTernan, RN, MSN, CPNP, a VNSNY pediatric nurse specialist, “While there are a number of different views on the causes of pediatric asthma, there are several surefire steps that parents can take at home to reduce the risk of hospitalizations.”