Asthma educators trying to inform families on how to cope, prevent deaths

By: Trishna Begam Email
By: Trishna Begam Email

News 12 This Morning / Friday, May 4, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Asthma cases in children are rising in numbers and severity, according to Georgia Health Sciences University.

An asthma pack filled with a spacer, a peak flow meter and a self-help asthma book are all the materials a young asthma patient needs to take charge of their chronic illness.

Cliff Dennis, an asthma educator at GHSU said, "I've actually seen children die from an asthma attack. I've been involved in the care of the child that died. There is no reason we should let children die of asthma."

Dennis, the lead pediatric therapist and asthma educator at GHSU, is preparing his kits for May 5th's Asthma Awareness Fair. He says more families need to be educated about how to cope.

"People treat it when they are having an asthma attack. Part of control is to have control even when you are not having an attack," Dennis explained.

Since 2001, asthma cases have gone up about 8.4 percent. That's why Georgia Health Sciences is partnering with the CDC to develop asthma education programs.

"We would like to see families with kids that have asthma so that we can see how well their asthma is under control," he said.

Not only will asthma educators like Dennis pass out kits, the event will include free asthma control screenings and a pulmonary function test, which will score a patient's respiratory health.

"We give them spacers, peak flow meters and a lot of information on how to take care of their asthma," he said.

They are learning tools that could keep a young child with asthma breathing more freely.

"It's very basic material, but that's usually the best way to get out the message across," Dennis added.

He says from 2006 to 2008, 10 children died from asthma, but there are preventable measures families can take to save more lives.

"There is no reason we should ever have a child die of asthma; it can be controlled," he sid.

The free asthma screening will take place Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will be set up at the Kohl's parking lot at 4227 Washington Road in Evans.


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