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Study presents explanation for why bullies target asthmatic children
In 30-children classrooms, it's likely that three students are afflicted with asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, the chronic inflammatory disease of the airways causes more children residing in inner-city and low-income areas to encounter emergency department physicians than the general population. It also leads to more deaths than average in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities
Despite the seriousness of the condition, asthmatic children are more likely to be bullied by classmates than youngsters with healthier lungs. A study presented at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress examined potential contributing factors for this medically-unrelated side effect of asthma.
Interviews with almost one thousand children who were at least 7-years-old indicated that low participation in sports, as well as sadness, poor asthma control, secondhand smoke from parents who use tobacco, and parental anxiety about their children's well-being could increase the chances that a child will be bullied.
"Our findings emphasize the need for doctors and nurses to speak to their patients about the effects their condition has on all aspects of their life. We know that bullying is associated with asthma and these findings can help us understand why this is case. A number of the factors identified are things that can be changed, such as participation in sport, asthma control and parental worry over their child's health," said Will Carroll of the Derbyshire Children's Hospital.
The CDC recommends that schools striving to be asthma-friendly communicate often with care clinicians, keep a close eye on students with acute asthma, keep a full-time nurse on staff, provide asthma education to faculty and students, and know when to intervene when it seems like a student could need immediate care for an asthma attack.
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