CLEVELAND – Angelic Claudio enjoys a walk on a beautiful summer day. But, the 12-year-old knows just being outside can affect her breathing. She has had asthma since she was born. "If someone had an asthma attack it will feel like their chest is tightening on them. It will feel like you can't breathe and you will cough a lot,” Angelic said.
Dr. Laura Milgram is a pediatric pulmonologist at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital. She says even the change of seasons can trigger an asthma attack. "So, when the weather is going up and down and flipping around and at the same time things are blooming and the allergens are in the air, now you have multiple things that may trigger your asthma," Dr. Milgram said.
Angelic also has bad allergies. “So that's horrible, as well. When spring changes into summer, the seasons change, that can trigger an asthma attack,” she said.
The summer heat and humidity can also wreak havoc. "It may drive some of your symptoms and you may feel a little more tight or short of breath when you're outside in the heat and humidity,” Dr. Milgram added.
Angelic knows to keep her distance from cookouts, bonfires and smokers. I cannot be too close to the fire or if someone is smoking I can't be next to them at all. Smoke gets into my lungs and I cough a lot. So, I can't be next to smoking, “she added.
Angelic manages her asthma by taking controller medicine every day. “Those medicines are really aimed at preventing or treating the underlying swelling and inflammation that is in the airway,” Dr. Milgram explained.
Angelic also has a rescue inhaler with her at all times. Dr. Milgram explained that it is used for immediate relief. “So, if someone is acutely having symptoms, cough, wheeze, shortness of breath, or chest pain, then it's really the rescue inhaler that they are going to be looking for because that is a short acting medication that opens you up so you breathe better," she said.
Angelic has this advice for fellow asthma sufferers. “Make sure to have an extra inhaler with you cause anything can go wrong at any second. You have to be careful a lot with asthma," she said.
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