Campaign aims to cut down on asthma triggers at home
The American Lung Association of Hawaii is concentrating its latest campaign, Open Airways + Parents, on improving conditions at home that trigger asthma, especially among Hawaiians, who are prone to the chronic lung disease.
"There's a higher proportion of Hawaiians with asthma, and it tends to run in families," said ALA Hawaii Executive Director Jean Evans, citing King Kamehameha IV's death at 29 as one of the most noted cases of fatal asthma.
Hawaiian children (birth to age 17) have the second-highest percentage of asthma (17.7 percent) in the nation, almost twice the national average, according to state Department of Health statistics. (Delaware has the highest.) The national average for children is 8.8 percent.
Hawaiian adults and children are almost twice as likely to have asthma than other ethnic group in Hawaii, Evans added. It is unknown whether genetics plays a part in passing along the disease, "but a family history is relevant," she said.
Those prone to allergic reactions have a lot of inflammation in their lungs. And many Hawaiians also live in dry Waianae, where dust mites and pollen prevail, and in wet areas that are rampant with mold and mildew that trigger asthma, she said.