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Asthma and Allergies in the Media

I love it when the media addresses asthma and allergies, whether it is in books, on TV shows, even in the news… it just makes me happy to see the issues presented, acknowledged, and dealt with by people (or cartoon characters). So if you find anything on TV or in music, art, books… this would be a great place to post it!

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  • Shea

    I just watched this tv cartoon with my son and it was about scent allergies!!! It is mainstream too!!! I loved it!!! Here is the link:

    I hope it works.. if not you can google it. It is a Disney show called Goldie and Bear, and the episode is called "Suddenly Spots". I love it when the media addresses these issues! (Goldie's shampoo is causing bear to have allergy attacks…  it has a perfect ending).

  • Shea

    This one is more of a teenager show on Disney Channel (it is a pretty funny show) called Lab Rats. This episode, called Bionic Dog, deals with dog allergies in its plot. One character brings home a dog, and another character ends up being allergic to it. A series of crazy events later, they all agree that the person is important, and so is their health, and, even though they like the dog, they find a happy home for the dog. The show is called Lab Rats, and it is Season 4, episode 4 Bionic Dog. Hopefully the link below works:

     

  • Jen

    Great topic, Shea!  There are a lot of instances of allergies and asthma as part of the plot on tv shows, movies, etc.  I remember that there's an episode of Arthur called .  Lots more I know.  I will try to add them as I think of them.

  • Shea

    That is as good one, great for food allergy! And, yes, add away, (I like showing them to my son, friends, and family)!

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, I love this topic, Shea! Great idea! I'll think through the ones I've seen and try to add them. I know that I really appreciate when the media does a good job of covering/showing the public about allergies and asthma.

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, as I was trying to remember shows about asthma, allergies and eczema, I found this — about an adult who deals with eczema. 

    I don't get HBO, but I can sympathize with anyone who has intense itching! And apparently the folks who are doing this show are trying to get it right.

  • Shea

    I just read that eczema article, K8SMOM, thanks for posting! It looks like a good show. 

    I found another kid's one, dealing with food allergies. Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: 

    I could only find the pay YouTube link (I guess it is not free yet):

    But it is just what I needed for my little one.

     

  • K8sMom2002

    Awww, did he like it? I know that it helped my kiddo (especially when she was smaller) to know she wasn't alone, and seeing it on TV helped validate it for her. 

    What other shows about allergies or asthma does he like?

  • Shea

    Yeah, he liked it and he repeated it later, and he remembers Daniel Tiger is allergic to peaches, so no don't give that to Daniel, lol. He lit up watching it, I know from experience how helpful it is just seeing that allergies are real, they affect other people too, and it is manageable for a child to deal with, the show made it simple and attached images and a song: do not eat what you are allergic to, ask if foods have what you are allergic to in it before you eat it, tell a grown up if you are not feeling well. 

    I have read him a few books I found on my kindle, and one story from a paleo family changing their diet that have been helpful, but this was great because it is mainstream, one of his favorite characters. 

    He also likes Chase on paw patrol, who is a dog allergic to cats… But.. I do not really like it because everyone just laughs at him when he sneezes. I feel like they need to do better with that… Especially since my experience shows it is no laughing matter to be allergic to cats. But at least the other dog paw patrollers do not force him to be around cats.. The cats are kinda evil and mischievous and his sneeze just warns the others that they are around. But, I still don't think they should laugh at him.. Maybe say "oh no" or "bless you Chase, there must be cats around!" Not just "hahaha I am allergic" and "hahaha oh Chase". 

     

  • Katie D

    Just popping over to say that I thought the Daniel Tiger episode was really well done as well Shea!  

    My daughter has a severe kiwi allergy and seeing someone like Daniel Tiger with a fruit allergy as well really helped her to relate.  I love a lot of the messages in that show and we often sing some of the tunes as we were brushing teeth, getting ready for bed, when we need to stay safe, etc.  

    There is also a Doc McStuffins episode we like about Doc's brother being allergic to dust which was good as well.  Doc talks about taking measures like washing his bear that is full of dust, having people avoid their triggers, etc.  My daughter likes this one as well as my husband is highly allergic to dust.

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, here's a link to KFA's (. And I thought of you when I read the description of . I think you can only buy it used (and not through the KFA Amazon shop), but if folks use this , a portion of the purchase price will go toward AAFA at no extra cost to them.

  • Shea

    Thanks Katie and K8Smom for the links. I am going to look at them all, they sound really helpful. Today I fought the dust bunnies all over the house, just cleaned away and washed all the bedding and covers and pillows, got them back on the bed, air purified on high, everything feels nice!!

  • Shea

    I just read this article, and it brought up negative and positive asthma portrayals in the media. I liked it: 

  • K8sMom2002

    Interesting! What's some of your favorite "good" portrayals of asthma in the media, Shea? 

    One of my favorites was another Arthur episode, called , and it shows how asthma can come out of the blue, and how to deal with other people's reactions to asthma.

  • Jen

    Thanks for sharing that, Shea.  I have found similar issues with the portrayal of food allergies in the media.  I think some of it is just the nature of the business that things aren't always accurately portrayed, but it sure is frustrating.

  • Shea

    I cannot recall many shows with posoitive asthma or allergies besides what we listed above. The only good part of the Jimmy Neutron movie was that the boy with asthma did save the kids once by spraying his inhaler in the alien's eye– that is kind of good. And the Goonies kid who had asthma… Well, at least he is the main character and kicks butt on his adventure even with his asthma and inhaler-need. Oh, and the little boy from Signs… His asthma attack saved him from breathing in the evil aliens poison, and his father was able to have renewed faith in god… So that is a plus.

  • Shea

    Also, I am really into new sciency things that talk about why people have certain "diseases"— the diseases actually were evolutionary advantages at some point during human history… like I read up that arthritis as an evolutionary advantage that protected people in cold climates during ice ages especially: 

    I like stories like that because I think there is some reason behind our diseases that is good.

     

  • Kathy P

    Well I'm going to admit to not seeing most if the movies they reference! Maybe that says something about the type of movies that asthma is portrayed badly in vs what I watch LOL. 

    But the Goonies reference I can relate to. I went to college with a guy who was totally like that! He was always sucking on his puffer. I mean always! I remember counting one night when a group of us were hanging out. I stopped counting at something like 12!  I knew nothing about asthma at the time,so this guy really shaped my view of people with asthma! Now image how traumatic it was, when years later, I was told I had asthma!

    I do think it's important to educate the general public about chronic conditions like asthma and what it's really like to live with it. But there are always going to bad portrayals in movies and on TV. It's such a challenge! 

  • Shea

    Yeah… We have steroids these days, so maybe that ius why we do not suck on the inhaler as much as the Gooney boy… But when I lower on my prednisone too fast that IS what starts happening to me… And that is no fun. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, I wonder if you may be onto something — the media kind of trails modern science. For instance, I always thought I knew what a food allergy anaphylactic reaction would look like, or an asthma attack … until it happened to me or my family. 

    And that's interesting on the evolutionary advantages. It reminds me of how people with one sickle cell gene are less likely to be susceptible to contracting malaria. 

    DD's rare bleeding disorder is another type of advantage — people with too much of the thing she lacks are at a higher risk of certain types of cancer AND certain types of blood clots. So does that mean she'll not risk those things?

  • Jen

    Does anyone have any other examples of how asthma and allergies are portrayed in the media?

  • Shea

    I just thought Id bump this thread after just hearing about the tragic food allergy death of a teenager:

     

    It hits super close to home because it happened in my state (Florida) and the  last time I had an allergic reaction to nuts from ingesting chicken at a restaurant that did not mention nuts in its description (though I admit I didnt ask like I usually do for myself — I always ask for my son's allergies, but for some reason was not as cautioys for myself that time..) Anyways when we are in a hurry or pressured or very hungry with low blood-sugar (studies show decision-making is poorer with low blood sugar), or if we just haven't had a reaction in a while and forget to be as cautious… Deadly mistakes can happen. I too had to use 2 epipens,  and then was given another by paramedics, and barely made it to the ER without getting intubated– it came on faster than ever before and was worse than ever before. I fear making an error like this again. Recently a health food store mispackaged a cookie with nuts into a regular cookie label and thank god my mom had tried it first an realized it had nuts before offering me it DESPITE the label saying it had no nuts. My 6 year old has food allergies and I watch everything he eats and keep the epipen with him and have been told by his father (my ex) that he knows "too much" about his allergies and that it might scare him and I was like, are you kidding me– no he knows how to ask and be vigilant and that is a GOOD thing (his father got in trouble by me for not asking before and feeding him things with his allergens in them)– now I always carry safe foods especially if hes going somewhere with his dad, he has a lunch packed and his epipens and allergy bag with him and a chefs card, and he hinself will remind his dad and others to check for soy and nuts. But he too has seen mnm candies in a jar and just grabbed tgem without asking ne and thank God they were nut-free (his soy allergy is not as sensitive and he can eat soy lecithen without a problem, but cannot have soy flour or som soy oils– others cannot even have soy lecithen) . Im so nervous about when he is more independent and older– especually the teenage years– because this mom seemed so on her game and same with the daughter– I DO think they need better symbols and labels for products that contain nuts and allergens. I am so sad this happened

  • K8sMom2002

    I'm sad, too, Shea. It's frightening and scary to think about the near misses those of us who manage food allergies have had, and it's really sad to think about that family and their loss. They are certainly in my thoughts and prayers — though that phrase seems very inadequate for what I'm feeling.

    On the cookie from the health store — wow! That was a near miss! Did you know you can report foods like that? The Kids With Food Allergies blog post  gives you info on the way to do that. 

     to that family and to you … thanks for sharing about this. 

  • Shea

    Thank you for the info on how to report, I will make sure to follow that method if it happens in the future– smaller stores, restaurants, and bakeries seem to have more issues with allergy labelling stuff and educating staff in my experience. 

    I really feel for the family too– I just can imagine and have imagined the horror of something happening to my child due to food allergies and …imagining alone is so bad… The reality would be devestating, and I know when I suffer tragic losses one way I cope is to see that it doesn't happen to me or someone else again. So for the family, I am really sorry this happened, and I will be right there to help push for better labelling and better ways we can support families – especially with teenagers who face unique risks— but awareness all around is meaningful and effective. It really does take a village.

  • K8sMom2002
    Shea posted:

    It really does take a village.

    It REALLY does!

    Here's a super helpful FAQ on food allergy labeling laws, and what's covered and what's not … .

    While restaurants are NOT required to label food, if it's not prepared and served or sold "to-go," it may fall under FALCPA. There are really important exemptions — like if a food is regulated by the USDA and not the FDA. So, sometimes pizzas are regulated under the USDA because they have a certain amount of meat.

  • Shea

    I consider this article a small victory for those with severe dander allergies, like myself: Publix just announces service animals are not permitted to ride in shopping carts, and they were supported by a service animal group which agreed emotional support animals are not service animals and people need to stop bringing them into stores. The policy is not new, but the signs are. Yay Publix fir standing up and supporting the policy/posting signs!: 

  • Pljohns

    WAHOOO. Way to go Publix!!!!  I totally agreed with them.  I was in Michaels the other day and thought it was just the lady’s purse in the buggy but all of a sudden it MOVED-it was her dog!!!  There is no reason for all of these dogs/pets to be brought to every single store and make those with allergies have to deal with the aftermath of it.  Thanks so much for posting Shea!

  • Melissa G

    I totally agree Lynn! Why in the world do you need to take your dog into Michael's?!  I understand places like Petsmart and Petco, but come on…

  • LK

    Good article, Shea!  Thank you for posting it!  It is good to see that businesses are taking the steps needed to make people aware that just because they want to take their dog/animal somewhere doesn't mean that it is a good idea.

  • Pljohns

    I had a lady that use to work for me that had a toy yorkie and she took that dog EVERYWHERE-back then I wasn't nearly as aware of how that impacted others (Thanks Shea for educating me!) but now I look back and feel badly for all of the people she caused issues for.  Even then I thought it was weird of her to take her dog everywhere but now I understand the bigger issues it causes.

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, wow! This is huge! So proud of Publix AND the service dog organization for taking a stand! 

  • Nav Gosal

    My son’s severe eczema, food allergies and asthma. We kept it natural. At 8 months, he ate something at a restaurant, broke out in hives, was taken to ER, and our journey to food allergies, severe eczema, seasonal allergies, and digestive issues started.Mom quits job and flourishing career to manage son’s severely worsening eczema, keeping him at home full time, attending multiple doctor appointments, getting blood work done on various diseases, cooking allergy-friendly foods and changing our lifestyle to a hypoallergenic one — read, read, read, track, track, track, stress, stress, and more stress.At four years of age, still struggling, and on a very limited restricted diet called “Anti-allergy” diet. No top 8 allergens in diet, but a slow introduction of legumes and other veggies.At five years of age today, under control, but still a struggle. This is when I found enough time, had enough insight into the condition, and knowledge from reading research papers and studies to start sharing my experience.Eczema is not a single point disease, it requires a strong management plan from all angles.

  • K8sMom2002

    Hugs, Nav … that sounds like quite a journey! You've been through so much, but you've been dedicated in helping your little guy! 

    So glad that things are a bit better!

  • Shea

    Nav, so glad you and your wife worked together and got educated on eczema and food allergies and asthma for your little one.

    My son (now 6) has eczema, dander allergies, environmental and food allergies, and I have a severe chronic allergic disease with asthma as well– it is a lot to take on but totally worth it because we can manage the disease so much better with education and learning as we try new things, and sharing them and learning from others who have similar struggles, and bringing our own unique solutions to the table.

    We are nut-free and soy-free, no furry or feathery pets, and take all the dust-mite prevention tips and house-cleaning strategies. We carry out epi-pens and benadryl (mind has saved my life and his benadryl has come in handy for minor reactions, and having his spoken there while I monitored him has been good). I have an allergy action plan that I show to others, and mostly I am with my son, so I model how to ask about allergens and how I check labels and how to talk to people who are ignorant about allergies and maje sure to advocate and keep safe. I pack a safe lunch/food/treats a lot when we go to events too and that is helpful. We do public virtual school and are in a homeschool co-op that is allergy-aware as well. 

    Anytime you want to share it vent, we are here this is a great community, and I will try to check out the eczema site you put on your post soon (my son has mild eczema on his arms but it is not too bad, my main concern with him is allergies).

  • Shea

    I found another cartoon kids movie where a character has asthma. My son says, "mom, I thought you were the only person in the world who uses an inhaler". (That is why I love honorable mentions that there are those of us with asthma and allergies by just showing characters in movies/media in a non-offending way who have these things). 

  • Brenda Silvia-Torma

    I haven't seen that one before either! I'm going to have to check it out…it will be interesting to see if my DD catches on that the character has asthma. 

  • Wheezy Me

    Nice thread!

    Arthur was one of my childhood's favorite TV shows, and Buster's breathless naturally touched me.

    Turns out he also has a song:

     

    Another one is Franklin the turtle:

    He suddenly finds out he is allergic to his best friend, Bear. He keeps away from him but misses him. In the end, they play together in the mud, go to Bear's house to wash, and it turns out Franklin is allergic to… Bear's new soap! Happy end

  • K8sMom2002

    I'd forgotten about Buster! Good one, Wheezy Me! And Shea, I'd never heard of that movie, either … thanks for sharing!

  • Melissa G

    I remember the episode of Arthur and Buster! 

    I have never seen the episode of Franklin. Thanks for sharing. 

  • Shea

    Yes those are good ones too– Arthur and Franklin! 

    "Gotta Catch Santa Clause" is a newer movie — its pretty good because its kinda high tech and modern, but still of course has Santa… I think it was a straight to DVD movie but we liked it. It is one of the main characters friend's using an inhaler at different times– it isnt a focus, just part of the character– so I kinda like that too, when its not in the spotlight but just casually there. 

  • Brenda Silvia-Torma
    Wheezy Me posted:

    Nice thread!

    Arthur was one of my childhood's favorite TV shows, and Buster's breathless naturally touched me.

    Turns out he also has a song:

     

    Another one is Franklin the turtle:

    He suddenly finds out he is allergic to his best friend, Bear. He keeps away from him but misses him. In the end, they play together in the mud, go to Bear's house to wash, and it turns out Franklin is allergic to… Bear's new soap! Happy end

    I remember seeing the Franklin episode where he thinks he is allergic to bear with my DD when she was young. Loved that happy ending!

  • Shea

    Yes– I know that episode!

    I just watched a few modern kid shows with allergies mentioned. 

    One is on Netflix called Popples (new version of the 80s cartoons) and it is episode 2 Sunny Loses her Pop, the coach thinks she is sick so she cant play her sport for the finale but then she finds out the culprit is allergies to a certain flower so she is able to avoid it and play:

    Another one is how to train your dragon series: Dragons Race to the Edge, episode 5 "Big Man on Berk" where a dragon rider thinks he has become allergic to his dragon and gets hypnotized. The hypnotism goes a little wrong and he becomes out of character and turns into a crazed big mean viking. But at the end he becomes returned to himself and they realize it is a saddle polish making him allergic (which turns out to be another Vikings ear wax– gross!) 

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, do you think they were fair and accurate in the way these movies talked about asthma and allergies?

  • Shea

    Well it certainly made it easier that the dragon trainer was not allergic to his dragon but to saddle ear wax. But there are many cases of occupational allergies and asthma developing where people do have to leave jobs: scientists who work with animals,  horse jockeys and vets, and people who have to separate with beloved pets, in which that is not the case.  It is something we hope for sometimes, but finding the true culprit is important. For my story, I have to avoid animals with fur and feathers. And rehoming animals was the best solution. 

    And for the athletic Popple, her allergies were mistaken for a sickness that would affect her playing a sport she loved and was goid at— and it sure made it easier to avoid one type of flower (which certainly can trigger allergies)– but if it had been pollens and ragweeds she might have a different ending and not be able to play. She might have to do an indoor gym or play a sport during a different season or help them change practices and games to a low allergen time of day.

    So certainly these cartoons are simplified versions– not outside of the realm of possibility, but certainly the writer's could have tried to take on greater problems and solutions that might be more true. 

    I just like it when allergies and asthma get mentioned so that people do understand we are out here. Better than not being mentioned at all, or portrayed as bad guys, or bullied (like in Peter Rabbit!!!– that was horrible). 

    I dont think I have seen any show that fairly and accurately portrays the struggle with allergies and asthma in a realistic way.

  • K8sMom2002

    Those are some good points! I think that awareness has come a long way, but still needs to broaden more. I'm like you: I'm glad to see it mentioned at all. 

  • Shea

    I found another TV show with allergies and asthma. It is on Netflix, the cartoon We Bare Bears, Season 3 episode 15, "Lucy's Brother"… It is not exactly correct in all of its portrayal (like after they use the epipen they should go to the hospital but they dont in the episode) but I wasnt offended by any of it… At least it shows Lucy's brother travels with his allergy bag, epipen, and inhaler, Panda checks ingredients… And he and Panda both have food allergies and asthma and bond, which was nice. There is another episode season 1 episode 5 I tead online about but havent seen where Panda accidentally eats a cookie with nuts in it and Lucy gives him an epipen. 

  • Melissa G

    Thanks for sharing Shea! My kids always loved watching shows with characters that had food allergies when they were younger. 

  • Wheezy Me

    I love this thread! Mainly because of all the cute characters and cartoons (in that aspect I'm still young at heart).

     

    Speaking of food allergies and epipens, Binky (from Arthur) has peanut allergy and there's an episode about it named "Binky goes nuts":