Children in poverty more likely to have asthma

Nearly seven million children across the nation suffer from asthma. Thousands of those kids live in Kern County, and an alarming number of them live in poverty.
BAKERSFIELD,CA- Nearly seven million children across the U.S. suffer from asthma.

"Asthma is a inflammation of bronchial section of the lungs. It's usually in children," said Bakersfield asthma and allergy specialist Dr. Tonny Tanus.

Of those 7 million, about 123,000 of those children live in Kern County.

There's no definite answer as to what causes asthma. Bad air quality seems to aggravate the symptoms but despite breathing the same air, the Environmental Protection Agency says asthma prevalence is higher among people living in poverty.

"I tend to see a little bit more severe problems in lower socioeconomic patients. It could be multiple factors," said Dr. Tanus.

Some of those factors include getting medical attention.

"They may have more difficulties let's say with getting proper medications. Or they may have more difficulties seeing doctors," said Dr. Tanus.

"The environment itself with increased incidents of house dust, with cockroaches a lot of allergies around also contribute to the whole factor," said  Dr. Michael Lenoir, President of the National Medical Association.

In 2010, more than 2,000 children in our county received emergency care due to asthma.

In a study released by California Breathing.org, more than half of those visits were covered by Medi-Cal, the public health insurance program that provides needed health care services for low-income individuals.

According to the EPA more than 10 million school days are missed each year due to asthma.
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