Just one flight of stairs. Doesn’t seem like much does it?
Following are the concluding paragraphs of an article published in The Washington Post, The Local regarding an asthma clinic working to reduce children’s hospital ER admissions. The paragraphs detail a conversation between a mother and child about asthma :
….. his mother says she’s too afraid to let Ellis exercise much. He quit football, and she doesn’t let him play basketball with his younger brother on the patch of hard-packed dirt in their back yard for fear the dust will set off his asthma. She even went to his school to ask that he not have to walk so much to get to class.
But nurse and clinic director Molly Savitz says exercising is critical for kids with asthma to strengthen their lungs.
“Kids with asthma often get so used to not being able to do stuff, so they don’t,” Savitz says. “It’s a nasty cycle.”
Later that afternoon, at their yellow rowhouse in Barry Farm, Powell calls up the stairs for her boys to get ready to go to Safeway to pick up Ellis’s new prescriptions. Ellis stops playing a wrestling video game, plods heavily down the stairs and flops onto a chair. He no longer wants to go to school, he announces. He wants to stay home and try online school.
“Do you have your pump?” she asks.
He shakes his head.
“Can you go get it?”
He again shakes his head, breathing hard.
“It’s upstairs. I don’t want to walk.”
Some people may view that last line as the child being lazy. If you did, then read the second last line again.
With chronic asthma, a flight of stairs may feel like a mountain, activities that are generally fun and good for us start to feel physically impossible.
To break the loop with chronic asthma (best practice techniques also quoted in the above article and further reading in links below) in terms of improving the ability to participate in everyday tasks and sport, it is so important to work with your family doctor – to actively engage in personal health management.
Three things need to be clarified, what to do when well, what to do when not feeling well and what to do during an asthmatic event. If in the “not feeling well stage”, it is about how to get back to the “feeling well” stage, through daily management. Talk about your fears, what is difficult, what works and just keep moving forward with the goal to live an active life.
Asthma management isn’t only about first-aid, it is about day to day life. Living an active life, not defined by asthma, but designed by your own choices.
(A mum that before her child had well management asthma, did all the running up and down the stairs!)
Image: by me.
Schulte, B 2013, ‘Children’s Hospital aims to cut asthma-related ER visits’, The Washington Post, 13 October, p. 3, viewed 13 October 2013,
For asthma support and education, I recommend Asthma Australia and the Foundations.