Springfield Children at Higher Risk for Asthma | Connecting Point | July 10, 2018
12
October

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


>>>KIDS IN SPRINGFIELD ARE
BEING HIT HARD BY ASTHMA LATELY. MORE THAN ONE IN FIVE OF THE
CITY’S KIDS HAVE THE DISEASE, AND THEY ARE TWICE AS LIKELY AS
OTHER MASSACHUSETTS KIDS TO WIND UP IN THE E.R. BECAUSE OF IT. WHY? AND WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO
DEAL WITH ASTHMA EVERY DAY? DR. ESRA CHAI-LAN OF BAY STATE
MEDICAL CENTER AND HER 11-YEAR-OLD PATIENT, NICHOLAS
CHRISTOFORAKIS, JOINED ME TO DISCUSS.>>WE ARE LIVING IN A
METROPOLITAN AREA, BUT ALSO THERE HAS BEEN SO MUCH
CONSTRUCTION RECENTLY WITH ALL THE ROAD WORK, EVERYTHING. AND ALSO THIS YEAR ALLERGIES
ADDED ADDITIONAL ASTHMA PROBLEMS.>>SO WE HAVE A LOT OF DUST IN
THE AIR AND EXTRA POLLEN TOO, RIGHT?>>YES.>>WHAT WERE THE WEATHER
CONDITIONS THAT MADE THE POLLEN POP THIS YEAR?>>SO, THIS YEAR WINTER WAS A
PROLONGED WINTER, SO SPRING CAME SO LATE, BUT IT CAME SO FAST. AND WHEN I SAY SPRING AND
SUMMER, ACTUALLY IT’S THE SPRING AND SUMMER ALLERGIES ACT UP
TOMORROW, LIKE POLLEN, TREES, GRASS, EVERYTHING IS OUT THERE
ALTOGETHER.>>SO PEOPLE ARE EXPERIENCING
THAT NOW AT THE SAME TIME?>>EXACTLY.>>NICHOLAS, ARE SOME OF THE
THINGS THAT DR. CAYLAN ARE
SAYING, DO YOU NOTICE THOSE?>>YEAH, IT’S BEEN DIFFERENT
THIS YEAR.>>IN WHAT WAY?>>LIKE USUALLY IT GETS EASIER
INTO SUMMER, BECAUSE THE ALLERGIES AREN’T AS BAD. BUT IT’S JUST KIND OF STAYED THE
SAME SINCE SPRING.>>WHEN YOU FEEL YOUR ALLERGIES
COME ON WHAT DOES THAT FEEL LIKE FOR YOU?>>SOMETIMES I’LL GET LIKE A
LITTLE WHEEZY MAYBE OR WHEN I’M RUNNING AROUND OR DOING A SPORT
I’LL LIKE, MY CHEST WILL GET A LITTLE BIT TIGHT.>>AND YOU ARE VERY ACTIVE,
RIGHT? YOU ACT, YOU PLAY A BUNCH OF
DIFFERENT SPORTS. SO ARE THERE THINGS THAT YOU DO
TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU FEEL WELL ENOUGH TO PLAY THOSE SPORTS? DO YOU HAVE TO TAKE SPECIAL
MEDICINE OR CERTAIN THINGS YOU HAVE TO BE AWARE OF ABOUT
YOURSELF?>>YEAH, I TAKE MEDICINE EVERY
DAY. AND IF I HAVE, IF IT ACTS UP
I’LL TAKE ANOTHER MEDICINE. BUT USUALLY I DON’T NEED THE
SECOND ONE. AND IF I’M PLAYING A SPORT, I’LL
JUST ASK THE COACH TO TAKE ME OUT FOR A FEW MINUTES.>>TO TAKE A REST. SO, DOCTOR, WHEN —
YOU’RE 11, RIGHT?>>YES.>>WHEN WORKING WITH CHILDREN
NICHOLAS’ AGE OR YOUNGER WHAT ARE YOU HELPING THEM TO
UNDERSTAND ABOUT ASTHMA, HAVING THEIR PARENTS UNDERSTAND?>>SO ASTHMA IS A CHRONIC
DISEASE, WHICH MEANS IT’S A LONG ACTING DISEASE, IT’S NOT LIKE A
COLD WILL COME FOR A COUPLE DAYS AND WILL GO AWAY. LIKE NICHOLAS HAS ASTHMA FOR
NINE YEARS, 10 YEARS ALMOST NOW, AND IN IS EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE
DEALING FOR. THE POINT IS WE NEED TO BE ALSO
UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS A LONG ACTING DISEASE, WHICH WE KNOW
HOW TO CONTROL MOST OF THE TIME. SO NICHOLAS ACTUALLY GAVE THE
RIGHT POINT. HE’S USING HIS MEDICATION EVERY
DAY AND DOES NOT NEED THE SECOND MEDICATION BECAUSE HIS ASTHMA IS
WELL CONTROLLED. AND THIS IS MICHAEL, I’M TRYING
TO EXPLAIN MY PATIENTS, THE PARENTS OF THEM, THAT ASTHMA, WE
CAN CONTROL IF THEY USE THEIR MEDICATION AND IF THERE IS ANY
PROBLEM, IT’S OUR GOAL IS BE SURE THAT, KIDS ARE KIDS, THEY
PLAY SPORTS, THEY GO OUT AND PLAY WITH THEIR FRIENDS, AND WE
WILL FIND A WAY TO HELP CONTROL THEIR ASTHMA.>>SO IT’S NOT AS IF YOU’RE
SAYING SPORTS, WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO CURB THEM, THEY SHOULD
BE INSIDE, RESUME NORMAL CHILDHOOD ACTIVITIES.>>EXACTLY. RUNNING, PLAYING, IT’S THE FUN
APARTMENT OF BEING KIDS, SO THEY SHOULD ENJOY THEIR CHILDHOOD. AND I THINK IT’S MY JOB AND THE
DOCTOR’S JOB TO FIND THE BEST WAY TO HELP THEM.>>WE’VE TALKED ABOUT ALLERGIES
AND ASTHMA SEPARATELY. WHAT HAPPENS OR HOW DO THE TWO
THINGS INTERACT OR EXACERBATE ONE ANOTHER?>>ASTHMA CAN BE TRIGGERED BY
DIFFERENT THINGS. KIT BE TRIGGERED BY COLDS, VIRAL
INFECTIONS, OR ALLERGIES. THIS IS THE RESPONSE YOUR BODY
IS GIVING WHEN EXPOSED TO ALLERGENS. LIKE SOME PEOPLE WILL HAVE
ECZEMA, LIKE SKIN PROBLEMS, SOME WILL ONLY HAVE RUNNY NOSE, AND
SOME LP GET ASTHMA. THIS ALL GOES TOGETHER IN THE
BODY, WHICH WE CALL ATOPIC DISEASES.>>THIS IS SOMETHING ALSO THAT
RESEARCH SHOWS US MINORITY GROUPS WILL EXPERIENCE AT A
HIGHER RATE. DO WE KNOW WHY THAT IS?>>IT’S REALLY THE RESPONSE OF
THE BODY. WE STILL DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING
ABOUT WHY ASTHMA CAUSES ALL THOSE PROBLEMS AND THIS IS WHY
WE STILL DON’T HAVE A CURE.>>SO YOU’RE USING MEDICINE TO
HELP MODERATE WHAT’S HAPPENING FOR PEOPLE.>>EXACTLY.>>YOU’RE NODDING YOUR HEAD. YOU SAID WHEN YOU HAD ASTHMA,
NOW THAT YOU’RE 11, IS IT DIFFERENT FROM WHEN YOU YOU WERE
YOUNGER? ARE YOUR SYMPTOMS DIFFERENT?>>IT JUST FLUCTUATES WITH THE
ALLERGIES, BECAUSE THEY THINK IT’S ALLERGY INDUCED, AND THAT’S
WHY I GET ALLERGY SHOTS.>>SO YOU MEAN THAT THE
ALLERGIES MAKE THE ASTHMA WORSE?>>YES. ALLERGIES CAN CAUSE ASTHMA
PROBLEMS, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE THINK THAT YOU’RE EXPOSING
SOMETHING EVERY DAY. LIKE A COLD WILL TAKE ONE WEEK,
BUT THE POLLENS, TREES OUT THERE FOR MONTHS AND YOU’RE WALKING
OUT SIDE EVERY DAY, SO YOU’RE EXPOSING THEM EVERY DAY AND THEY
CAN TRIGGER YOUR ASTHMA ANY DAY.>>WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT HOW
ALLERGIES OR ASTHMA CHANGES AS WE AGE? WILL IT GET BETTER, WILL IT GET
WORSE?>>IT REALLY DEPENDS ON THE
PATIENT. SOMETIMES IT CAN GET BETTER,
SOMETIMES IT CAN GET WORSE. THIS IS WHY WE ARE MONITORING
OUR PATIENTS ONE BY ONE.>>ARE THERE THINGS THAT THE
PUBLIC SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WAYS THEY CAN BEST TAKE CARE OF
THEMSELVES WHEN WE’RE EXPERIENCING HIGH POLLEN OR MORE
DUST?>>YES, SO FOR THE POLLEN AND
TREES, AS WE SAID, THIS IS NOT SOMETHING WE CAN CONTROL. BUT THERE ARE ALLERGY
MEDICATIONS, WE CAN CONTROL THE RESPONSE OUR BODY IS GIVING TO
THOSE TRIGGERS. SO WE SHOULD BE SURE THAT THEY
ARE TAKING THEIR MEDICATION REGULARLY, ESPECIALLY DURING
THAT SEASON, IT’S RIPE FOR ALLERGY MEDICATIONINGS AND
ASTHMA MEDICATIONS, BECAUSE YOU NEED TO CONTROL BOTH ALER
EXPWREES ASTHMA TOGETHER TO BE SURE THAT YOU’RE HEALTHY.>>DOES CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACT
THIS IN ANY WAY? DO WE KNOW WHAT WE CAN EXPECT
LONG-TERM WHEN IT COMES TO ALLERGY SEASONS?>>I THINK THIS IS WHAT WE ARE
SEEING THIS YEAR ALSO, WITH WINTER PROLONGED AND THEN SUMMER
HEATS VERY QUICKLY, THE ALLERGY SEASON IS REALLY BAD THIS YEAR,
SO I THINK IT’S GETTING SOMEWHAT COMPLICATED.>>THANKS FOR COMING IN TO TALK
TO US TODAY, I APPRECIATE IT.


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