Johnson City

May is asthma awareness month

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - As the weather warms and flowers bloom, grass and pollen can start to affect your child's breathing. Niswonger Children's Hospital will offer free education on childhood asthma at two locations during the month of May. The first session will be held at the Johnson City Public Library on May 9 beginning at 4 p.m. The Second will be held at the Washington County Jonesborough Branch Library on May 23 at 4 p.m. All school-aged children and family members are invited to attend, and no registration is required.

Asthma, a long-term breathing condition that can tighten the airways, can be triggered by more than just pollen. Claire Marr, clinical coordinator at Niswonger Children's Hospital, will be facilitating these classes for school-aged children and family members.

"Asthma is a life-threatening condition, but it can be managed," said Marr. "Our goal is to give kids and parents the tools they need to manage this disease."
According to the American Lung Association, there were 7.1 million school-aged children with asthma last year and 55 percent of these children experienced an asthma attack.

"We want to teach kids how to stay healthy and stay out of the hospital," said Marr. "Being proactive with your children's health will increase their quality of life and help them become more independent in managing their own health."

Children who have asthma miss more school days than those without, interrupting their education and jeopardizing their grades. Sleep can also be interrupted due to this breathing condition, so those children who don't miss school days may not perform as well in school due to fatigue.

Dust, pollen, pet dander and even exercise can be unique triggers for different children with asthma, but cigarette smoke is one of the most harmful.

It's important for parents and children to know how to prevent an attack by taking daily medicines, if prescribed, and avoiding triggers. But if an attack does occur, they need to know who to call and what to do. "An attack can be triggered by pet dander for one child, but pollen for another," explained Marr.  "If kids know how to avoid these triggers and take care of themselves, their parents can feel comfortable letting their children be more independent.

Marr will teach those in attendance what it means to have asthma, how it can be managed, how to avoid triggers and what medicines help in the treatment of this condition. For more information, call Marr at 423-431-4787.

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