Some Long Beach Unified School District students may soon be breathing a little easier, thanks to the UCLA Breathmobile, an asthma clinic on wheels that provides free diagnosis, treatment, medication and education for children with asthma.
Asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism among children, accounting for more than 14 million absences nationwide each year.
Staffed by a physician, a registered nurse and a patient-service worker, the RV-style Breathmobile will visit schools in Long Beach starting this month, with follow-up visits every six to eight weeks.
Twelve Breathmobiles operate throughout Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. They visit more than 200 elementary, middle and high schools, as well as several comprehensive health clinics in Southern California.
Evaluation studies have demonstrated dramatic improvement for patients treated by the Breathmobile, including fewer emergency room visits, improved pulmonary function, a decrease in school absenteeism and an improved quality of life.
Asthma is the most common chronic condition among children, affecting nearly 5 million youngsters under the age of 18.