Every year, American kids miss 10.5 million days of school because of asthma, according to the EPA. One in every 10 kids is affected.
They’re not just missing school. They’re missing simple childhood pleasures, like running outside without wheezing and playing on a sports team without toting an inhaler.
One of the major causes is air pollution, measured in fine particulates (which we see as haze) and ozone in the air we breathe.
Individual families can and should create plans to cope with a child’s asthma (see the EPA recommendations here). And schools have come up with creative responses, like raising a flag that is color coded to indicate the air quality each day, to help children modify their activities and manage their asthma.
But we must also attack the problem at the source. We need cleaner air, and not just for kids. Just as concerned parents and teachers are clearing away dust mites, mold, and other asthma triggers in homes and schools, we must clear away pollutants in our air that are harming our health.
Poor air quality is often associated with cities, but it also especially affects hikers who enjoy outdoor recreation on the high peaks of the eastern United States. That’s why AMC’s researchers and policy staff focus so much time on air quality—and why we parents who like to get outdoors with our kids should too.
Photo by iStock.
Great Kids, Great Outdoors is an AMC Outdoors blog written by Heather Stephenson.