Just in time for National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, CHOC Children’s is pleased to celebrate the CHOC Breathmobile’s 15 years of service to the community. As the only mobile asthma clinic dedicated to serving preschool and school-aged children in Orange County, this important resource removes barriers for children and their families who may be unable to access preventive asthma care. Additionally, the program is provided on certain days inside four of our CHOC primary care clinics for the convenience of our patients and families.
The Breathmobile team is currently working on a telehealth asthma consultation program to improve care for underserved children with asthma in pediatric practices throughout Orange County. The Breathmobile also serves as a training site for residents, fellows, nursing students and pharmacy residents.
CHOC Children’s is grateful to Dr. Stanley Galant, medical director of CHOC’s Breathmobile, and the entire CHOC Breathmobile team for your unwavering commitment and dedication to your field and to our patient and their families.
What medications should I always keep on hand for my child with asthma? -Anonymous
All inhaled medication in children using a meter dose inhaler will require a valved holding chamber, as well a mask for children less than 6 years. This is not required for dry powder inhalers. The child should have access to a reliever medication such as albuterol both at home and school. For preventative measures, those who suffer from asthma must have a controller medication such as an inhaled corticosteroid or an oral medication such as montelukast. These need to be taken on a daily basis for several months as directed by your provider to be effective. At every visit, your provider should give you an asthma action plan so that you know when to take controllers and relievers, depending on how well your child is doing, as well as advice on when to seek medical help. A peak flow meter, an easy-to-use breathing test for home use, can also tell you how well your child is doing, and is part of the asthma action plan.
-Dr. Stanley Galant, pediatric allergist at CHOC Children’s and medical director of CHOC’s Breathmobile
The CHOC Children’s Breathmobile celebrates 15 years of service to the community. As the only mobile asthma clinic dedicated to serving preschool and school-aged children in Orange County, this important ...
What are seasonal asthma triggers that I should be aware of? How can I avoid them, or treat symptoms of them? -Anonymous
While seasonal allergies occur typically in the spring and fall, and are difficult to avoid, it is important to avoid playing outside when pollen counts are high, such as after the grass is freshly cut. Again, the flu vaccine can reduce flu-related asthma symptoms in the fall and winter months. Keep in mind also that the avoidance of indoor allergens, such as house dust mites, by using pillow and mattress impermeable covers, can reduce the effect of outdoor allergens, and non-allergic triggers.
How can I help manage my child’s asthma year-round?-Anonymous
In the CHOC Children’s Breathmobile program, we strongly emphasize the importance of taking measures to avoid potential indoor allergens such as house dust mites, cat and dog dander, cockroaches and mold. We also recommend avoiding non-allergic triggers such as environmental tobacco smoke, and high levels of air pollution. Respiratory viral infections such as influenza can also be a trigger, so getting the flu vaccine in the early fall is a must for all people who suffer from asthma.
The appropriate use of medication also plays a major role in managing asthma. This includes the use of a medication such as albuterol for asthma symptom relief and for preventing exercise induced asthma if given 15 minutes beforehand. In patients with more ongoing chronic asthma symptoms or severe asthma exacerbations, referred to as persistent asthma, a preventive approach, which will require daily controller medication for months as determined by your provider, is necessary.
For Lisa and Mikel Whiting, CHOC Children’s not only saved their son’s life, but solved an eight-year mystery — allowing him to pursue dreams once thought unattainable. From infancy, Brant Whiting suffered severe asthma that caused asthma attacks every single night of his life. Brant describes the experience as trying to breathe through a straw.
One night, at age 8, Brant stopped breathing altogether and was rushed to a local hospital. Doctors said that Brant’s labs “were incompatible with life” and he might not survive the trip to CHOC Children’s in the transport ambulance. But he did, and Dr. Nick Anas, CHOC’s pediatrician-in-chief and his team worked for five hours to keep Brant alive. They succeeded. After six days in a medically induced coma on life support, Brant awoke — and survived.
In fact, not only did he survive, CHOC doctors were able to determine the underlying cause of Brant’s asthma — gastric reflux. He underwent a fundoplication procedure at CHOC, eliminating about 85 percent of his asthma symptoms. This correct diagnosis gave Brant the chance to pursue his dreams: playing professional baseball. He played catcher on Stanford University’s baseball team for four years before being drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers. A precious life saved… and a dream fulfilled.