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1. Asthma is an inflammatory disease that causes the airways of the lungs to tighten, making it difficult to breathe. Symptoms include wheezing and shortness of breath. Symptoms can be caused by allergens or irritants that are inhaled into the lungs.
2. Triggers that lead to attacks include mold, dust mites, secondhand smoke, cockroaches, cats, dogs, exercise, viral illnesses, strong odors, perfumes, crying, laughing and air pollution. Some people are more at risk of getting asthma than others, depending on family history and exposure to asthma triggers at work or at home.
3. Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be prevented and managed. Asthma is the most common chronic disease facing children, accounting for 10 million missed days of school. The disease has become an emergent public health concern in the United States.
4. Asthma is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization among those under 15 years of age. At its worst, asthma can be deadly. In Louisiana, one in 10 households with children has at least one child who is asthmatic.
5. Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children, affecting an estimated 4.8 million children under the age of 18 in the United States.
Source: Louisiana Public Health Institute; National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
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