An estimated 84,000 Montanans have asthma.
Parents know how worried and helpless it can feel to watch a child suffer through an asthma attack. As a physician, I worry, too, when children come to me in respiratory distress or with chronic coughing, wheezing or difficulty breathing that interferes with sleep, activities or school.
Fortunately, it's possible to control most asthma through medical care and education. We can also help by keeping our air as clean as possible. Air pollution, including vehicle exhaust, contributes to severe asthma attacks and other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and premature births. But, it's within our reach to drastically reduce this form of pollution.
New standards recently proposed by the EPA will clean up our gasoline and set tighter pollution standards for vehicles. The results would be equivalent to removing 33 million cars from the road. The auto industry supports these new standards, and so should our leaders in Congress. Let's help those with asthma, and all the rest of us who depend on clean, healthy air, by supporting these new standards.
Michael Zacharisen, M.D.
Family Allergy & Asthma Care of Montana