Message to Readers of AsthmaAllergiesChildren.com from EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson
(Note: After we posted news of the EPA’s Asthma Leadership Awards on our home page, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson sent this personal call for action)
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects nearly 25 million Americans and one in every ten children in the United States.
Safeguarding the air we breathe and preventing illnesses like asthma attacks is one of my most important jobs as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But it is important to me for other reasons as well — before I am Administrator, or an environmentalist, I am a mother of two teenage sons whose health, happiness and future are my and my husband’s top concerns. Over the years, my youngest son has struggled with asthma, giving my work for clean air an added urgency.
In some cases, raising a child with asthma means startling awake at night because of the lightest sound of a cough. In other cases, it means family trips with a nebulizer, breathing masks and asthma medication. But in every case, it means taking special care to monitor the environmental conditions that might trigger an attack.
It is important to raise awareness about environmental triggers and ensure that everyone has the knowledge they need to help control asthma. The EPA has assembled a number of great resources on our website. Please help us get the word out to make sure everyone knows what they can do to help prevent and protect against asthma.
Lisa Jackson spoke eloquently of her son’s struggle with asthma in a speech two years ago.
…. I am here as both the Administrator of the EPA, and as a parent of a child with asthma. My 12 year old son Brian has fought with this disease his entire life. His first Christmas was spent in the hospital, unable to breathe. Over the years, there have been a countless number of nights when I’ve been awoken by the horrible sounds of his croup. Many nights of getting him out of bed, putting him in a hot shower, then out in the cold air to try and help him breathe.
Our family always travels with Brian’s nebulizer, his masks, and his medications. Still, at times, it has gone beyond anything we could help or prevent on our own. Once, on a visit my mother’s home in New Orleans, we had to get Brian to a hospital because he couldn’t breathe. As you all no doubt know, it’s not just the attacks that are difficult. It’s the fact that Brian can’t be carefree and act the way a kid should be able to act. We have to be extra careful when it’s hot outside or when other environmental triggers are present. My family can’t take for granted that Brian’s going to be able to breathe easy.
The full speech text can be read here.