Health Department Launches "Asthma Doesn't Have to Stop Your Kids From Being Kids" Campaign

The new multimedia campaign reminds families that children with asthma can lead active and healthy lives with a daily management plan

In New York City, approximately 170,000 children suffer from asthma; the disease disproportionately affects Black and Latino children living in poor neighborhoods

asthma daily medication

November 2, 2017 — The Health Department today launched a new multimedia campaign educating parents about the benefits of managing their children’s asthma every day. The campaign, “Asthma Doesn’t Have to Stop Your Kids from Being Kids,” reminds parents to work with their health care provider to create a daily asthma management plan that includes taking medication if needed and working with school staff and caregivers. The ads, in both English and Spanish, are running on TV and social media citywide. In New York City, 13.3 percent (173,660) of children suffer from asthma, and it is the leading cause of in-patient hospital stays for children. The rates of childhood hospitalizations due to asthma are also higher in poorer areas (the Bronx, East and Central Harlem, Central Brooklyn). It also disproportionately affects children of color — the prevalence of asthma among Black children is 22 percent and Latino children is 15 percent, compared to 4 percent among White children. The campaign runs through November 26.

Asthma medication, when used as directed, can prevent most asthma attacks from ever happening. More information on daily and emergency asthma medications, as well as services in New York City, are available online at nyc.gov/health/asthma and by calling 311 and requesting a free Asthma Action Kit. Once a management plan is established, parents should share it with family members, child care centers and other caregivers. Parents should also ask their child’s heath care provider to fill out the Asthma Medication Administration Form (PDF), (MAF) and return it to the school nurse every year.

“Children who suffer from asthma can learn, play and engage in the same activities as their peers as long their asthma is under control,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “This campaign reminds parents about the significant benefits that daily medication and avoidance of environmental triggers could have in the health and quality of life of a child with asthma.”

“It’s crucial for parents to understand that many, and probably most, asthma attacks can be avoided with daily management, particularly medication prescribed by a child’s health care provider,” said Dr. George L. Askew, Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Family and Child Health. “It is also important that the child’s school and school nurse is aware of their child’s medication plan and has the ability to give the child daily medications, if needed. Parents should ask their child’s health care provider to fill out the Asthma Medication Administration Form and return it to the school nurse every school year.”

"When a child has asthma, parents need to know that they don't have to go at it alone. I encourage parents to meet with a doctor or other medical provider to put together an asthma daily management plan to help their children live with asthma, and I congratulate Commissioner Bassett and her department on this important initiative," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“Thank you to the New York City Health Department for taking these important steps to help us combat and control childhood asthma,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo. “This is such an important issue for us on Staten Island that we collaborate on leading the Staten Island Asthma Coalition, a data-driven collaboration aimed at leveraging the power of collective impact to improve health outcomes for Staten Island’s asthmatic children.”

“The prevalence of asthma, particularly among children, remains far too high in New York and many other cities. But asthma remains a manageable disease. The Health Department’s public information campaign targets New York City neighborhoods where pediatric asthma is particularly widespread and the message is most needed,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried of Manhattan, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health.

Health Department Programs for Managing Asthma

The Office of School Health’s Asthma Case Management Program (ACMP) works with high-risk elementary and middle school students with a history of asthma related hospitalizations, frequent use of emergency rooms for asthma, high asthma-related school absences or recurrent medical visits. The program employs trained asthma educators, who work closely with school nurses, guidance counselors and school administrators. These case managers ensure families understand how to manage asthma and notify school mental health professionals when psycho-social issues may be contributing to poor asthma control. They also may consult with a student’s primary care provider and evaluate home environmental conditions. ACMP is in its second year and will enroll 1,500 students over the next three years.

The Center for Health Equity’s East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence (EHACE) is a community-based program of the Harlem Neighborhood Health Action Center. EHACE provides free educational resources, environmental services and case management for families with children with asthma. EHACE also convenes a network of over 100 pediatric asthma care providers through the Harlem Asthma Network. The coordinated efforts of EHACE and local providers in the last decade have resulted in significant reductions in the hospitalizations for children in East and Central Harlem. For more information, call 646-682-2100 or email ehace@health.nyc.gov.

The Healthy Homes Program (HHP) works with families and health care providers to safely reduce asthma triggers in the home, such as pests and mold. Referrals can be made for two types of allergen reduction services:

  • The Health Department’s Online Provider Registry, which allows providers to make referrals for a home assessment on behalf of their pediatric and adolescent patients with persistent asthma who live with pests. Upon receiving a referral, the Health Department assesses a patient’s home for pests and conditions conducive to pests (leaks, holes, and harborage). If such problems are identified, the Health Department uses its authority under the NYC Health Code to require the building owner to safely address such conditions. HHP has had considerable demand for this service, with more than 1,000 referrals from all 5 boroughs in both private and public housing since 2016. HHP also works with the building owner to address other housing hazards identified beyond pests.
  • For patients in the public hospital system (NYC Health + Hospitals), HHP provides home-based, allergen-reduction services targeting pests. These services are provided under a contract between HHP and OneCity Health. OneCity Health is the NYC Health + Hospitals-sponsored Performing Provider System (PPS), formed under the auspices of the New York State DSRIP program. Upon receiving a referral, HHP will send a pest management professional to the home and provide specialized pest-related, allergen reduction services using integrated pest management (IPM). IPM is a prevention-based pest management approach that safely addresses pests and building conditions attracting pests. Since April 2017, over 100 patient referrals have been received. HHP expects to provide IPM services to 1,100 patients by the end of 2017.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Carolina Rodríguez: (347) 396-4177
PressOffice@health.nyc.gov