When I was young, I was in absolute denial about my asthma. It felt like every morning my mom yelled out the car window when she dropped me off at the bus stop, "Don't forget to use your inhaler before gym class!". I was of course embarrassed that my mom was yelling at me around my friends (as any grade school kid would be). Despite her daily plea with me to take my inhaler, I would undoubtedly forget. Like clockwork, I would make my way around the second lap of the soccer field and start wheezing. The moment I started wheezing, I started panicking. Rather than stopping my run, taking deep breathes and using my rescue inhaler as instructed, I would carry on hoping that my body would magically right itself. Eventually, I would keel over in a frenzy and wheeze uncontrollably. I would be sent to the school nurses office with signs of an asthma attack where I would be treated with a rescue inhaler or nebulizer. I think it took me a whole school year to pass the second lap of the soccer field.
I am not alone in my asthma struggle. I am older now and have been able to get my asthma symptoms under control, but I will never forget the struggle I had as a kid.
According to the CDC, nearly 50% of all adults and children have a hard time identifying the early signs and symptoms of an attack. Asthma is the number 3 leading cause of pediatric hospitalization in the United States and asthma costs are nearly $56 Billion a year. Despite better inhaler treatments and improvements in education about asthma, self management is still a huge struggle.