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U.S. EPA awards $15,000 to the American Lung Association of Hawai'i

Release Date: 10/8/2003
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711

Funds will be used on helping children manage their asthma

HONOLULU The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today awarded $15,000 to the American Lung Association of Hawai'i to educate children on managing their asthma through its "Open Airways for Schools" program.

The program teaches children between the ages of 8 and 11 asthma management skills and will be taught in 50 schools in the islands, reaching over 550 children.

"The Open Airways for Schools program is important in that it teaches children with asthma that they can lead an enjoyable, active and healthy life," said Louise Hill, project manager for the EPA Pacific Southwest Region's Indoor Environments Program. "The program will empower children to prevent and recognize asthma symptoms, take necessary asthma management steps, and feel more confident about taking care of their asthma on a daily basis."

The program uses a curriculum of lessons to teach that:
-asthma is treatable;
-asthma symptoms don't have to be a crisis;
-prescribed medication should be taken at the first sign of symptoms or the first sign of a cold;
-a child with asthma should live as normal and active a life as possible

In response to the growing national asthma problem, the EPA has created a national asthma education and outreach program to reduce exposure to indoor environmental asthma triggers by raising public awareness, helping children and their families manage environmental triggers, and empowering educators and child care providers to reduce children's exposure to indoor asthma triggers at schools and day care centers.

Asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism due to chronic illness and accounts for 14 million school days lost annually nationally. The asthma rates among U.S. children ages 5 to 14 rose 74 percent between 1980 and 1994, making asthma the most common children's health problem.

The EPA has tools available to the public and school administrators to help in their efforts to manage asthma episodes, they can be found at:

For more information on the Open Airways for Schools program, please contact Kathlyn Wong of the American Lung Association of Hawai'i at (808) 537-5966, ext. 309.
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