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CDC 24/7 - Saving Money Through Prevention - Florida's Success

Asthma and Outdoor Air Quality

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What is the problem?

Asthma is an ongoing public health concern in Florida. In 2006, more than 27,000 Florida hospital stays were due to asthma. The average asthma hospital patient was 42 years old, with an average stay of 3 days.

What did Tracking do?

The Florida Tracking Program linked Florida Department of Environmental Protection outdoor air quality data with Agency for Health Care Administration asthma hospital data. Tracking staff developed county-level maps showing the prevalence of asthma across the state. Tracking staff found that during certain times of the year, the link increased between asthma rates and outdoor air quality. That said, only more work will provide a complete picture of Florida's asthma problem.

Improved public health

The Tracking Program used this project as an opportunity to improve agency teamwork and surveillance ability. The Program works with the University of Florida and NASA to assess the effects of wildfires on asthma hospital stays. The hypothesis is that asthma hospital visits increase during years in which wildfires are endemic. During such events, timely wildfire notices and air quality messages may reduce the asthma burden. And the ultimate objective, pursued jointly with Florida's new Asthma Control Program, is to reduce the state's asthma burden.