High pollen count brings spike in asthma cases

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PHOENIX -- Eight-year-old Miko Echiverri discovered four years ago he has asthma.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Echiverri told 3TV.  “I was playing football, and I just started wheezing. I told the teacher, and I had to go home.”

But now, Miko knows how to manage his asthma.  He keeps an inhaler at the school nurse’s office, and he’s not alone.

“There are four people in my class who have asthma,” said Echiverri.

The CDC says asthma is the most common chronic condition among children, and the leading cause of being absent from school. Asthma sufferers know tis the season.

Kimberly Reiners, the Pediatric Asthma Educator at Cardon Children’s Medical Center, says the extremely high pollen count this year has brought an increase in cases.

“I would say it’s worse this year because we didn’t have a freeze this past Winter, so the ragweed and types of weeds that would have been dormant are still blooming and even worse this year,” said Reiners.

Reiners says when allergies flare up, so does asthma.  Top triggers can include not only allergens, but smog, dust storms, and pet dander.

“Any time your child is coughing, having shortness of breath, say their chest hurts, doesn’t have a lot of energy, it’s best to let your primary care doctor know right away,” said Reiners.

Symptoms that need to be taken seriously.  According to stats from the CDC, there are more than 4,000 asthma-related deaths each year; 11 Americans die from asthma each day.

But if monitored and treated, young patients can breathe easier and don’t have to be sidelined from their favorite activities.

For more information, go to www.BannerHealth.com/SchoolClinics.