E. Ky. counties begin initiative to fight asthma

ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) — Seven counties in eastern Kentucky have begun enrolling families for a pilot program to fight asthma.

The Independent (http://bit.ly/1b5vcmq) reports the Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids initiative plans to test assessments that are used to identify and reduce environmental factors that trigger asthma. The nonprofit Eastern Kentucky Health Inc. is administering the project in conjunction with local health departments in Boyd, Greenup, Carter, Elliott, Lawrence, Floyd and Pike counties.

Officials want to find 100 families to participate in the study. They want families with children from pre-kindergarten through middle school age who have who have unmanaged asthma that is moderate to severe.

Holly West, the executive director of Eastern Kentucky Health, says the rates of asthma in eastern Kentucky are significantly higher than in the rest of the state.

Health workers visit the homes of participants.

“They will walk through with the families and help them to identify what the problems are,” said West.

“It can be anything from we found mold, to burning candles, pets or pests, to you are taking a shower and leaving your wet towels on the floor — there are a variety of things. We will help the families reduce those asthma triggers for things that they might not be thinking about that can cause asthma exacerbations,” she said.

West said the agency has limited resources available to help families that might need mattress covers and high efficiency air filters.

“Our goal is to be able to show this is effective and be able to get reimbursement down the road from insurance companies to support this,” she said. “We know that healthy homes works for improved health, but there is not as much testing on its effectiveness for long-term asthma control.”

West said it is “exciting” to be part of a study that will determine whether intervention methods will provide long-term asthma control.

“Since this is a pilot program, the entire state is looking at it. It’s the first of its kind in Kentucky. It’s being watched by several insurance companies and by our state public health department along with several other states throughout the nation.”

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Information from: The Independent, http://www.dailyindependent.com

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