What every parent should know about asthma
By Shandley McMurray
At 11, I coughed so badly that I broke a rib. It felt like someone was standing on my chest. Knowing this was far more than a run-of-the-mill virus, my mother took me to the doctor. He diagnosed me with asthma. I was put on three different types of medicine, which I hated.
I had to use a peak flow meter daily to measure my breathing and could never exercise without first inhaling a drug called Ventolin. If I ever got a cold virus, my meds were bumped up to help prevent an attack. Although I never liked lugging around the medication or looking “weak” by taking them in front of my peers, they were a far better alternative to the horrible feeling of constriction in my chest and the struggle to get a breath in.
Today, I have outgrown the severity of my asthma – I only notice it on really hot, frigidly cold, or smoggy days, and I don’t need to use my inhaler most of the time. But I’ll never forget the fear and pain that accompanied the disease. And while fortunately my daughter has yet to show any symptoms, I can imagine how frightening it is to be a parent of an asthmatic. So I asked the experts to help me put together an informative guide to help understand what this disease is, why kids get it and what you can do about it.