PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As one of the most common chronic conditions, asthma affects millions of children worldwide.
More than 26 million Americans are living with the condition, and about 7 million of those are children.
Those with severe asthma have frequent asthma attacks, and often, using more than one inhaler isn’t enough to control symptoms. That’s why Hasbro Children’s Hospital pediatric lung specialists are reminding parents to be aware of symptoms.
When the coughing starts, “time is of the essence,” according to Dr. Daniella Teape, a pediatric pulmonologist at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.
Deaths due to asthma are rare, but concern has grown after 13-year-old Laurel Griggs, a young actress on Broadway and in television roles, died suddenly last month from an asthma attack.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that in 2017, 3,564 people died due to asthma — which is roughly 10 people each day of the year — and many of those who died were children.
“They have difficulty realizing when they’re having a severe asthma attack,” Teape said.
While death is rare, it’s important for parents and children to get to know asthma attack symptoms and how to respond.
Here’s what to watch out for:
- Dry, consistent cough
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
If any of those show up in your child, Teape said it’s time to consult your child’s primary care physician.
A family history of asthma can also prompt an investigation to determine whether your child is experiencing symptoms.
Potential triggers can include smoke, polluted air, and allergies.
Hasbro Children’s Hospital also has a clinic dedicated to children whose asthma is severe and prevalent enough that they are forced to go to the emergency room multiple times a year.
The clinic helps provide custom care for those with more complex diagnoses.