Doctors at Children's Mercy Hospital see more patients during the first few weeks of school than any other time of the year and experts are explaining why.
That old saying "as simple as the air we breathe" means nothing to 13-year-old JaVuan. For him, breathing can be difficult. He's been suffering from Asthma since he was 6 months old.
"A couple of times I've had to call the ambulance," JaVuan's grandmother, Sheila Brewer, said.
Brewer brought him to Children's Mercy's Allergy and Asthma clinic where Dr. Chitra Dinakar is a professor of pediatrics and is JaVuan's physician.
"If you want to know how it feels take a straw, put it in your mouth and pinch your nose and try to breathe through the straw - you'll start gasping," Dinakar said.
Asthma seems to peek each year just as kids are going back to school. At Children's Mercy they've seen more asthma patients admitted to the hospital in the last two weeks of August than any other month so far.
"Our emergency department visits are double," Dinakar said.
Dinakar said there are a number of reasons why this happens. Children usually get a break during the summer from allergens that trigger asthma, such as pollen.
"They take a break from their medications, we call it a holiday. They take it easy for a while and forget their routine," Dinakar said.
JaVuan, on the other hand, can't forget. He gets five shots every other week.
Another factor said Dinakar is the fall's ragweed, and children also become more active with sports. But with advanced tests doctors can treat both the closed air passages and the inflammation that causes asthma.
"We could never tell before how inflamed they were, we just used to guess," Dinakar said. "Now we have test that helps pick up the inflammation."
Doctors said asthma can develop early in childhood or even later as adults. If a person notices repeated problems with their child coughing or having difficulty to breathing, or even skin rashes, they are advised to ask their pediatrician about asthmatic symptoms.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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