Keeping Asthma Under Control

Asthma in children often goes misdiagnosed and untreated. But children can grow up to lead healthy, normal, and active lives if parents act aggressively enough, reports Correspondent Anne Petersen of CBS affiliate KCTV-TV in Kansas City, Mo.

Three out of four children in the Porter family have asthma. Each child has precautions they must take to control their symptoms.

The children react to everything from the pet cat and dog to the chalk dust in the children's school gymnasium, says their mother, Jean Porter.

It's hard enough to have one child with asthma. But, with three kids, it's been quite a challenge for the Porter family, she says.

The key to getting the children's asthma under control is organizing their medications in a tackle box. Writing on a small chart what type of medication each child may need for the day makes it easy to keep track of, Jean says.

"Other things that are really important with asthma are using devices like peak flow meters to measure breathing at home," Dr. Jeffrey Wald, medical advisor for the Asthma & Allergy Foundation.

These breathing devices are now in school nurses' offices in virtually every school district in the Kansas City area.

Dr. Wald says the push for community awareness about asthma is critical because of the growing problem among children.

Each year, over 5,000 deaths occur in the United States from asthma. Studies show approximately 15 percent of school-age children have asthma problems.

"Those deaths are avoidable in over 90 percent of the time," says Dr. Wald.

He says by recognizing asthma symptoms early, severe problems such as lung inflammation can be reduced.