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New Effort Aims To Curb Childhood Asthma In Imperial County

Aired 3/10/14 on KPBS News.

Researchers at San Diego State University have won a $4 million grant to enhance asthma education and treatment in Imperial County.

Researchers at San Diego State University have won a $4 million grant to enhance asthma education and treatment in Imperial County.

Asthma affects 1 in 5 children in Imperial County and children there are hospitalized for asthma at a much higher rate than in any other part of the state.

A woman shows a child with asthma how to use an inhaler.

Research from the new SDSU grant will focus on helping families better manage their children’s asthma. Community health workers will visit families’ homes to tailor proper treatment. And a media campaign will educate people about adjusting their activities depending on air quality.

SDSU Professor Guadalupe Ayala is co-directing the program.

“Currently there are no coordinated efforts to address the issue of asthma in Imperial County," she explained. "So, I would say it’s new and novel in a sense of that we’re trying to work in multiple sectors at the same time to address the problem.”

Ayala said pesticides, dust, and other environmental factors contribute to asthma. But she pointed out the exact cause of the disease is unknown.

More than 6.8 million American children suffer from asthma.

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