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Kids and asthma

November 10, 2009 9:24:21 PM PST
Thais Matos had asthma when she was a kid. Now her six year old son, Damien, is dealing with the same symptoms.

"If I take him to the doctor, they'll say give him the chamber, the asthma pump. Let him take it two times and then that's it," Matos explained.

Matos said regular doctor visits and preventative medication are key.

A new study backs her mother's intuition, but also shows alarming results saying minority parents are less likely than white parents to take daily medication to prevent asthma attacks.

"If it's your child, you're going to put 100 percent into it. I really don't think it has to do with nationality or anything like that," she said.

The study published in the medical journal Chest researched nearly 15-hundred asthmatic children from four states.

It found black children were twice as likely as white children to go to the emergency room for an asthma attack.

Pediatric pulmonologist Dr. Haviva Veler at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore says the study also considered family income, insurance coverage, household smoking and children's weights.

"It's growing up in a stressful environment. It's growing up in an environment with pollutants, infections, roaches, dust, exposures like that," Veler said.

The study says minority parents tend to be more skeptical about the drugs' safety compared to white parents.

Researchers also found both black and Hispanic children were less likely to take daily medication that is recommended for preventing attacks of breathlessness and wheezing in people with persistent asthma.

"Some people just concentrate on the quick reliever medication and it's very important to emphasis how dangerous it is to use the quick reliever medication without the controller medication," Veler said. "Asthma medication works. If you use it everyday you can prevent asthma exacerbation and mortality."

Researchers say the bottom line is parents of minority children need to use rescue inhalers less and preventative asthma medication more.

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