With higher childhood asthma rates in Harlem than in any other neighborhood in NYC, the Health Promotion Learning Lab is taking preventative measures by leading workshops on how to manage and control asthma. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, New York ranks number three in the list of most challenging metropolitan areas to live in with asthma because of the abundance of asthma triggers. An asthma trigger is a thing or condition that can cause inflammation in the airways. How they affect people with asthma varies from person to person but can include cigarette smoke, air pollution, dust mites, cockroaches, and strong odors. It is important to keep your home, workplace, and school free of these triggers.
For the past two weeks the Health Promotion Learning Lab (HPLL) has been in UPK classrooms to teach young students about how their lungs work and what it means to have asthma. With the hands-on exploration of a lung and diaphragm model even the youngest students are able to visualize and internalize how lungs fill and deflate with every breath they take. By listening to their own breath sounds with stethoscopes, talking about asthma triggers, and stressing that exercise is the simplest and most effective way to care for lungs, students gain a tangible understanding of asthma and how to decrease the negative consequences related to asthma. The HPLL stresses that just as bodies need nutritious food to be healthy, lungs need exercise to be healthy. It is important for people with asthma to understand their own asthma symptoms and find an individual exercise plan that takes into account their own body needs. Asthma can be controlled and should not hold anyone back from taking part in the activities they enjoy!