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Asthma Frequently Asked Questions

Why “track” asthma hospitalizations?

    Asthma is a complex, chronic respiratory condition that affected an estimated 6.2 million children and 13.8 million adults from 2001-2003 in the US. Because asthma is a non-reportable disease in many states in the US, the CDC, EPA and the Florida Department of Health are working together to build the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network to track asthma to better learn more about how outdoor air quality contributes to asthma hospitalizations
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What is already known about asthma and the environment?

    Researchers are still not clear on what causes asthma. However, over the years, important steps have been made to help identify things in the environment which may contribute to an asthma episode or asthma attack. Several asthma “triggers” may include exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (second-hand smoke), dust mites, outdoor air pollution, and cockroach allergens.
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How can outdoor air quality affect people with asthma?

    Air pollution can make asthma symptoms worse and trigger attacks. Two key air pollutants can affect asthma; one is ozone (found in smog), the other is particle pollution (found in haze, smoke, and dust). When ozone and particle pollution are in the air, adults and children with asthma are more likely to have symptoms.

    Ozone is often worst on hot summer days, especially in the afternoons and early evenings. Particle pollution can be bad any time of year, even in winter. It can be especially bad when the weather is calm, allowing air pollution to build up.

    Particle levels can also be high near busy or dirt roads, during rush hour, and around factories. Also, particle levels can increase if there is smoke in the air from wood stoves, fireplaces, or burning vegetation, or wildfires.
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*This web portal was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 5U38EH000941 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors (FL Tracking Team) and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.