Asthma doesn’t take pity on children, especially low-income children who live in areas with poor air quality. According to the CDC’s latest statistics, 8.3% of children under age 18 have asthma, the same rate as adults. For children in families earning less than $35,000 a year (the lowest bracket), 16.3% have ever been told they had asthma, and 11.7% still have the disease, the highest rates of all income brackets.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation states “Both long-term and short-term exposure can cause health problems such as reduced lung function and more asthma attacks.” Los Angeles, California has the most polluted air, according to the American Lung Association State of the Air report for 2018. California has the dubious distinction of holding eight of the top ten spots on the ALA’s most polluted list. We’ve previously written about the CareTRx asthma inhaler management device and Geisinger and AstraZeneca’s asthma care app suite.
Putting money where the problem is the greatest, the Blue Shield of California Foundation recently granted SmartAirLA $250,000 to help children with asthma in Los Angeles control the disease with technology. SmartAirLA has not declared a specific smart inhaler at this time. The organization cites studies showing that using smart inhalers produces two significant results: 81% reductions in hospital admissions due to poor asthma control and, by tracking the incidents, pinpointing areas termed “asthmatic hotspots” for air pollution mitigation.
Using mobile tech to track and manage asthma in the SmartAirLA program can help an underserved community where the need is great. Such programs also reinforce the cases for both the further acceptance of digital health tech and for supporting healthier environments.