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Child Asthma Call Back Survey 2017

Asthma is a chronic lung disease with no known cure. However, it can be controlled with proper asthma education and management. In 2019, an estimated 189,000 Illinois children had current asthma (6.9%) and 268,000 Illinois children have been told at some point in the past that they have asthma (9.8%). Current asthma is defined as an affirmative response to the question “do you still have asthma?” as self-reported on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The data for this update was obtained through the 2016-2017 Asthma Call Back Survey (ACBS), a follow-up to the BRFSS. It is based on a small sample size of 65 respondents and limited to a statewide profile. No statistical differences were found by age, race, or gender.

Demographics of Survey Respondents

Respondents to the survey were parents responding on behalf of their children. The children are younger (62.1% ages 0-12 years), White (71.1% vs. 19% Black vs. 9.9% other), non-Hispanic (80.7%), equally represented by sex (56.8% male vs. 43.2% female), and more likely to have current asthma (62.1% vs. former 37.9%).

Asthma Symptoms and Daily Life

Among children with current asthma, most (78%) report their asthma was well controlled, which reflects how effectively the frequency and intensity of symptoms and functional limitations were minimized. One out of three (37%) children reported symptoms in the 14 days prior to the survey, 43% in the past month, and 33% had an asthma attack in the past year. About 40% of respondents reported having their activity limited by asthma. A smaller number (19%) reported their sleep being disturbed by asthma.

It is not uncommon for Illinois children with asthma to have their daily life affected

Not well controlled asthma is defined as one of the following: symptoms on nine or more of the previous days 30 days, trouble sleeping on three or more of the previous 30 days, or little or moderate limitation of activities in the past year.

Managing Asthma: Health Care and Medication

Most children had insurance (93%) at the time of the survey, and many had received their flu vaccine in the previous year (63%). However, approximately half of Illinois children did not have a routine doctor visit. One routine visit (30%) was reported by more children than two visits (15%) or three or more visits (13%). About 1 in 4 respondents (27%) reported visiting an urgent care doctor and 1 in 5 (20%) reported visiting a hospital emergency department in the past year.

Asthma medication use was not prevalent among survey respondents – 37% use a control medication, 42% use a rescue medication, and 8% use an inhaled corticosteroid with no other controller.

Routine Doctor Visits for Children with Asthma

Home Asthma Triggers

All surveyed families identified at least one asthma trigger in their home. Examples of common home asthma triggers include dust mites, animal dander, cigarette smoke, and insects. Most (90%) had 1-3 triggers and 10% had four or more. Despite only 40% of families being advised by a medical professional to make changes to their home environment, 99% have taken action to reduce asthma triggers in their home.

Number of Asthma Triggers in Home

Asthma and the School Environment

Around 1 in 4 (28%) children report missing a day of school or day care in the past month due to asthma, yet just 1 in 3 children with asthma (33%) have an asthma action plan on file at their school or day care.