Alarming Asthma Report - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Alarming Asthma Report

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Alarming Asthma Report
By: Wendy Ray

Asthma is a frightening, debilitating, even deadly condition and more and more children are suffering from it.New research says the number of children with serious breathing problems has more than doubled over two decades, that's about six and a half million kids. A report by the Environmental Protection Agency says researchers have studied a number of air quality factors, but haven't pinned down a reason why more children are having trouble catching their breath.

16-year-old Skylar Galberth is a sophomore at Cape Central High School. He's active like other kids his age, but he has an added responsibility to keep a close eye on his asthma. It recently got worse. "Constant trips to the hospital, constant wheezing, having to take my inhaler all the time," Skylar says.

Skylar was diagnosed with asthma when he was three. He says his inhaler is his lifeline to catch his breath during an asthma attack. According to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency there are more kids like Skylar than ever before.

Between 1980 and 1995, the number of children with asthma doubled from 3.6 percent to 7.5 percent. In 2001, nearly nine percent of kids had asthma.

School Nurse Jeanne Heise has seen that increase firsthand. "It can drastically alter their attendance at school," Heise says. "It depends on how well managed they are, if they're following their protocol or not. If they're not, they'll get sick." Heise says asthmatic children have a lot of responsibilities, they have to watch their medications and know the proper way to use their inhaler. Skylar has those responsibilities, but after doing them for 13 years he's in charge, and knows what to do if he has an asthma attack. "I use my inhaler as needed. I was put on medications to help regulate me more. "I'm doing a lot better," he says.

Again, there are medications that can help asthmatic children. Another thing to keep in mind, the cold temperatures during these winter months can stir up asthma.

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