Preventing Back-to-School Asthma Attacks (Ben Francisco, PNP)

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , /

Rachel Alvarez starts practice with a puff. “It doesn’t help that I play sousaphone,
and you have to use a lot of air.” This senior at Battle High School in Columbia,
Missouri, has her asthma plan well-rehearsed — Pre-medicate and keep the inhaler close by during performances. “I always have one of the band directors
get it, or since my dad’s there, he has it, and he’s always watching me.” Rachel’s asthma is well-managed, but for younger students heading back to school, that’s not always the case. “September and October are the peak
months all across the country for emergency room visits and admission to the hospital
for children with asthma.” Ben Francisco is a pediatric nurse practitioner
specializing in asthma at University of Missouri Health Care. He says the end of summer brings a spike in
mold spores and weed pollen, which irritate airways, and with students in close quarters in the
classroom, respiratory infections increase. The good news is that with a plan and a routine,
even the most severe asthma cases can be managed. “You prevent future attacks by giving
daily medications that suppress or keep down inflammation.” Rachel is able to breathe easy on the field,
knowing her medication is nearby. “I bring it, I always use it when
I need to, and it makes life easier.” And this teenager hasn’t missed a beat. From the University of Missouri, I’m Teresa

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