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Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease that involves inflammation of airways in the lungs. There is no cure, but it can be treated and controlled. During an asthma attack three basic things occur in the lungs - the inside of the airways swell, airways muscle spasms occur and mucous builds up. Asthma affects all age groups from infants to senior adults. There are many different theories on why asthma occurs, but no definite explanation.

Approximately 18% of the students in the Independence School District have asthma, and it is the most common reason children miss school. Symptoms vary per person, but some common symptoms include a cough with or without sputum, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and/or chest tightness. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should see your physician.

Asthma episodes can be triggered by a variety of factors including pollen, smoke, mold, animals, cockroaches, dust, weather, exercise, infections, emotions, strong smells, etc. Over 80% of those with asthma also have allergies. Treatment for asthma includes avoiding the factors that can start an attack and taking medication to control the inflammation in the airways.

The Independence Health Department takes an active role in working with children and adults with asthma. Children in the Independence School District are presented the American Lung Association's Open Airways program. This program helps the students understand their asthma and learn to take charge of their asthma. Classes are also presented to adults, bus drivers, childcare workers, teachers, after-school workers and caretakers.

If you would like more information about asthma, contact Dee Hampton at (816) 325-7320 or dhampton@indepmo.org.

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