On May 7, 2019, – World Asthma Day – the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) released the 2019 Asthma Capitals™ report. This report ranks the top 100 Asthma Capitals in the U.S. It highlights the widespread impact asthma has on our nation. For 25 million Americans, asthma is a challenging disease that can have physical, emotional, social and financial impacts. Here is a personal story from one of our top 20 capitals to show what life is like managing asthma.
Lakia Shavon Lightner
#13 Asthma Capital: Hartford, Connecticut
Lakia Shavon Lightner has vivid memories from her childhood of visits to the emergency room at 2 in the morning. She has had severe asthma and allergies for as long as she can remember. She grew up in Hartford, but now lives in East Hartford, Connecticut.
She believes her asthma is more controlled now, but her asthma still limits what she can do. “I am limited and it’s expensive when you suffer from asthma and allergies,” she shared. “I notice a big difference living in the East Hartford area. It’s much better than the Hartford area.”
Weather and air quality both create conditions that trigger Lakia’s asthma.
“What triggers it is pollution, someone smoking around me,” Lakia said. “Also, the cold weather – that’s a challenge, and also the summertime. When it’s hot, I’m like a fish without water. I try to stay in the AC and have a fan around so I can breathe.”
To avoid her asthma triggers, sometimes she wears a mask to help make sure she can breathe well. But she doesn’t always know when she may run into her triggers.
“I don’t always wear the mask because people don’t always tell you if they smoke or don’t clean properly. Once I visit someone and get a picture of who they are, then I know if I need to bring the mask the next time I visit.”
She knows that if she is going to visit friends or family in Hartford, she is going to need her quick-relief inhaler because of the poor air quality. “The pollution is terrible there,” she shared.