Latina mothers share ways to reduce asthma triggers in Tacoma

VIDEO: Latina mothers share ways to reduce asthma triggers in Tacoma

TACOMA, Wash. — A group of Tacoma mothers is working together to help children with asthma. The women have children with asthma and found ways to manage symptoms at home.

"A lot of things inside a house can make asthma worse," said Beatriz Espinoza.

They took what they learned and shared it with in-home child care providers. They used photographs of conditions that aggravate asthma and talked to the day care owners. They returned with a personalized plan for each one.

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Some of their advice included making sure shoes stay outside of the home, limiting humidity to reduce mold, and opening windows during the day to allow ventilation.

They named the group "Mujeres Latinas Apoyando La Comunidad," Latinas helping the community. They met weekly at a McDonald's and as their children played they perfected their message.

The mothers teamed up with Robin Evans-Agnew an associate professor of nursing and health care leadership at UW Tacoma. They wrote up their findings and found other opportunities to share ways to limit asthma attacks. They spoke to a state conference of school nurses, too.

"It is absolutely transforming to watch people who want to give back to their community be able to do that and to have the power to do that," said Robin Evans-Agnew, Ph.D.  at UW Tacoma.

“It makes you feel empowered,” said Dulce Chavez, who started as an interpreter for the group and then became a member, “Many parents don’t have the same opportunity that we had and we’re sharing what we learned.”

The current project involves the women and their children. They tested air quality inside homes and found high levels of formaldehyde. Now they’re using their findings to change the regulations for building products.

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