HONOLULU (KHON2) – Hawaii has a new public service campaign providing additional information on asthma in children and the triggers people could be missing. 

The Hawaii Department of Health said currently 1 in 13 keiki in Hawaii have asthma which equals to about 7.7 percent. This is higher than the national average which is currently 7.5 percent. 

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In 2019, DOH said they saw about 689 emergency department visits and 66 hospitalizations due to children 0-4 years having asthma related emergencies. 

“Anyone with asthma can have an asthma attack when exposed to a trigger,” said Dr. Brian Wu, Medicaid Medical Director at HMSA and Pediatric Pulmonologist at Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children. “Asthma triggers vary from person to person, such as respiratory infections and environmental factors.”

Common asthma triggers Hawaii keiki might deal with are bad air quality, vog, air pollution, health conditions and airborne irritants. Sometimes, certain exercises and medicines can trigger an asthma flare up in children as well. 

“It’s important for everyone in Hawai‘i, especially parents, to identify the triggers that can make asthma worse,” said Dr. Wu. “Common environmental triggers include roaches, dust mites, mold, secondhand smoke and vaping.” 

The new Control Asthma campaign will run through June of 2023. You can hear about this campaign through radio, digital and mall advertisements statewide. Each month, there will be a new common source that can trigger an asthma attack like a type of exercise, illness or medication. 

Lola Irvin with DOH Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division Administrator said it’s important to give parents tools that can help their children. 

“In addition to helping parents identify and control asthma triggers, the campaign encourages parents to have an ‘Asthma Action Plan’ for their child,” said Irvin.

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For more information about this campaign, you are encouraged to visit the campaign website and download the “Asthma Action Plan.”