REFERENCE: Wahlgren, D.R., Meltzer, S.B., Jones, J.A., Hovell, M.F. Home environment of low-income latino children with asthma exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. Presented at the 1999 American Lung Association/American Thoracic Society International Conference, San Diego, CA, April 23-28, 1999.

Little is known about he home environments of underserved Latino children with asthm. Low-income Latino families included a child (3-17) with ashma or prescribed a bronchodilator, living with a smoker, and exposed regularly to ETS were recruited in San Diego County. Baseline interviews were analyzed for the first 100 families. Participants were transitory with sub-standard housing and minimal resources; 35% of the families moved to a new residence one or more times during the study; households consisted of 2-15 residents (median 5.0), 79% rented, and 8% housed via government assistance; 57% had government-assisted medical coverage and 32% had no health insurance. thirty-eight percent of study children shared their bedroom with a smoker, 97% of the bedrooms had carpeted floors, 49% had window drapes, 79% had stuffed toys, 79% of homes had gase stoves and 18% had a ped cat or dog in the home. In the prior year, 23% of the children had been hospitalized, 44% had visted the ER, and 51% had been seen at an urgent care facility for respiratory problems. In the last 2 weeks 43% reported interference with daily activities, and respiratory symptoms were rated as moderate to severe (43%), mild to modest (54%) and none (3%). Findings indicate that Latino famliies with minimal resources and health care who live in homes with common triggering factors have children with highly symptomatic asthma. The relatively high rate of families moving to new residences can further compromise continuity of care and challenge the potential to adequately control household triggers.


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