Diseases/Conditions, Environment, health

Connecting Community to Combat Asthma

          Panel discussion (From Left to Right) Dr. George Bensch, Dr. Karen Furst, Pharmacist Allen Shek, Registered Nurse Robin Orr.







“San Joaquin County overall, for all ages, has a higher prevalence of asthma than the State of California,” said San Joaquin County Public Health Services, Doctor  Karen Furst.


San Joaquin County, CA – The San Joaquin County Public Health‘s Obesity & Chronic Disease Prevention Taskforce held the 2012 asthma summit, “Connecting Community to Combat Asthma” at the San Joaquin County Office of Education on Saturday, March 10th.

“Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lungs,” explained Dr. George Bensch during the panel discussion. “The prevalence of this disease has been increasing dramatically for the last three decades in all sexes, ages and ethnic groups; however it is more common in children.”

 Listening closely to Dr. Bensch’s presentation was Lodi resident, Lina Saldaño, and her six- and eight- year old sons, Gabriel and Adrian. 


Asthma (Photo credit: liliazdad)

“I am here to learn more about the disease because both of my

 sons have asthma,” said Saldaño.  Adrian, who was born premature, suffers from serious allergies and has been hospitalized several times due to his asthma condition.

Children Attending the Event

For Saldaño, transforming her home into an asthma-friendly place has not been an easy task. “We have no stuffed animals, we had to get rid of all the carpet at home; all the cleaning and dusting is exhausting.”

“I wanted to bring them so that they can see that they are not the only ones dealing with this disease.”

Saldaño is correct—Adrian and Gabriel are not alone. According to the 2011 San Joaquin County Asthma Profile, approximately 118,000 children and adults have been diagnosed with asthma in the county.

“San Joaquin County overall, for all ages, has a higher prevalence of asthma than the State of California,” said San Joaquin County Public Health Services, Doctor  Karen Furst.                      

Asthma is a complex genetic disease. Genetic factors as well as the exposure to allergens and certain environmental factors may prompt the development of asthma says Dr. Bensch.

“Data shows that living in an area where there is bad air quality not only makes asthma worse, but it may actually cause asthma development.”

“Air pollution affects everybody, especially those with breathing-related illness like asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis,” says Anthony Presto, Public Information Representative of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. “Ground level ozone, known as smog, damages lung tissue and reduces lung function,” added Presto.

According to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District 2011 Report, the Valley still faces significant challenges in meeting the federal health-based ozone standards.

The Valley`s unique geography and climate are a major challenge to meet the standards: “the only way to clean the valley`s air is to create less air pollution because we are almost completely surrounded but mountains so it traps all the pollutants,” explained Presto.

“The air quality in the valley has improved through a lot of efforts like technology, rules and regulations in cars and business; things are getting better but it still not good enough at all,” added Presto.

About Dennise Rocha

Journalist with Bilingual Weekly Newspaper


2 thoughts on “Connecting Community to Combat Asthma

  1. asthma may make your living like a nightmare. my sister is an asthma attack patient and she has really a difficult time when it attacks. presently there are usually some all-natural food supplements that can help minimize the signs and symptoms of bronchial asthma. exercise and healthy diet also assists a little bit in making bronchial asthma attacks smaller in severeness…

    Posted by Ardella Cummer | June 26, 2012, 7:14 am
  2. Having this community is a wonderful approach to finding ways to combat asthma;) Great post and I look forward to sharing more with you:)

    Posted by wartica | March 16, 2012, 1:50 pm

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