Controlling Asthma can be Key to an Active Summer
Two out of 25 Alaska kids have asthma
ANCHORAGE - Watching a child not able to breathe is a horrible feeling for any parent. Unfortunately, Anchorage mom Julia Vea has had this feeling too many times.
"It will be in the middle of the night and they'll wake up coughing or they can't breathe and you're just wondering what's going on,” said Vea. “Several times I had to take Tali to the emergency room because I wasn't sure what was going on.”
Vea’s daughter is graduating and she has brought her two sons along to watch. Both boys have asthma and allergies.
"I had to be a little more proactive with our older son Angel to get tested and then when he was tested we were able to manage it because we were able to get the medication,” said Vea.
Proper management of asthma can make the difference of being left on the sideline or joining sports teams.
For seventh grader Jacob Kane, proper management of his asthma means he doesn’t miss out on his activities.
"I love to run, I play football, I go out for track, I run the 800 and the 100,” said Kane, who attends Goldenview Middle School.
Two out of 25 kids in Alaska have asthma.
"I take medicine in the morning and the afternoon to help my asthma keep it controlled and I always make sure try to make sure I keep an inhaler in my pocket,” said Kane.
And on the occasion that an inhaler is left at home, school nurse Kathy Bell is there to help.
"I encourage parents to bring an extra inhaler to bring here, even if the kid has permission to carry their own inhaler, because kids are kids and they forget to bring their inhaler to school,” said Bell.
"Having a school nurse here, we can help evaluate kids, tell parents that kids are using their inhalers more, so maybe they need to get their daily medications looked at.”
Doctors said spring in Alaska is always the worst, with some of the highest levels of tree pollens in the entire world.
"So by inhaling these allergens it will provoke an asthma exacerbation and that's further complicated by dirt, the dust, the silt... the diesel exhaust in the air as well,” said Dr. Jeffery Demain, Director of the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Center of Alaska.
Dr. Demain said parents should make sure their child is taking their medication regularly to help prevent an attack.