Cheryl C., CO
A cold is not just a cold for a child with asthma. It can quickly turn into pneumonia or worse, hospitalization. A change in weather as well as days when we have a lot of air pollution or wildfire smoke can also be a problem. I know this all too well, because my three sons have asthma. It’s been part of our lives since they were little.
One of the worst experiences was when Vincent, who is now 21 and a student at Davidson College in North Carolina, was in fifth grade. At the time, Vincent was playing and running outside at school when he collapsed. He couldn't catch his breath and went into a full-blown asthma attack. By the time the school called me, an ambulance was already on its way. It was a terrifying experience.
My twins, Malcom and Martin, had three bouts of pneumonia before they were two. They struggled with one respiratory condition after another. Martin had frequent ear infections and would often wheeze, while Malcolm always seemed to have a croupy cough and sometimes his lungs sounded like they were crackling. The asthma also made him tired.
Fortunately, as the boys got older and we put them on maintenance medication, their asthma improved. Vincent played basketball and lacrosse in high school and both Malcom and Martin, who are now 12 and in middle school, enjoy being active in sports. But it's taken a lot for them to stay healthy. If there is one thing we've learned, any time their condition is not well managed, the boys get sick.
We're grateful for the American Lung Association's Asthma Summer Camp. It's been an amazing opportunity for all three boys. The twins started going when they were five. Vincent was in high school and started off as a counselor-in-training, in part to watch over his younger brothers. Vincent is now a lead counselor and works with the local Lung Association office doing research when he's home from college.
Over the years, I've watched my sons grow in their ability to understand asthma and how to take responsibility for themselves. But one thing they can't control is the quality of air they breathe. Here in the mountains of Colorado, we're often subject to airborne toxins from vehicle emissions, power plants and other commercial sources of air pollution. Isn't it time for families to say, “Enough already!” Strong healthy air protections are needed to protect the health and well being of our nation's children.
" A cold is not just a cold for a child with asthma. It can quickly turn into pneumonia or worse, hospitalization. A change in weather as well as days when we have a lot of air pollution or wildfire smoke can also be a problem. I know this all too well, because my three sons have asthma. It's been part of our lives since they were little.
First published: December 5, 2014
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