Update on Carmel youth baseball player who suffered near-fatal hit

CPR training of coaches and parents and defibrillators stationed at the park’s concession stands saved his life.

The 13-year-old Carmel baseball player whose heart stopped after he was struck in the chest by a ball recently is home, itching to play baseball again.

His dad updated IndyStar Tuesday about his son’s miraculous recovery, which he credited to the quick work of coaches and parents at Grand Park in Westfield — and a defibrillator pulled from the concession stand at the park.

“Without that, it probably would have been a totally different result,” said his dad, who was put in touch with IndyStar by his son’s Carmel Hounds coach, Paul Wright. The boy’s father asked that he and his son not be named because he doesn’t want the youth to be overwhelmed by attention.

The father of the boy said he was at work May 22 when his son, playing second base for a 13U travel team that is part of the Carmel Dads’ Club, was hit in the chest by a throw from his catcher that he didn’t see.

“It’s kind of the phone call from hell,” said his dad, “that no parent ever wants to get.”

The ball hit in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time and caused the boy’s heart to stop. That he will suffer no permanent damage, brain or otherwise, is a miracle.

His dad said the family is forever grateful to all who rushed to his son’s side, getting involved in a “scary situation.”

Doctors have told the boy that he will make a full recovery and, within three weeks, can be back out on the field playing.

And he’s antsy to do just that.

“Oh, he would get back out there today if he could,” his dad said.

Original story published May 26:

The baseball hit with a thud to his lower chest, right by his heart.

The second baseman for the Carmel Hounds youth travel team — who didn’t see the catcher’s throw coming his way — collapsed on the field Sunday at Grand Park in Westfield.

As he lay motionless on the ground, his skin turning gray, coaches and parents rushed to help, administering CPR.

But the 13-year-old boy didn’t have a pulse. He wasn’t responding.

And then came the tool that ultimately saved his life: an automatic external defibrillator pulled from the concession stand.

An AED, which restores a regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest, is rarely found at a baseball field. Most youth leagues — travel, recreational or sanctioned Little League — don’t require them.

Little League Baseball and Softball, with about 2.5 million kids playing each year, recommends that local leagues have AEDs but doesn’t mandate that they do. The reason, according to the league, is cost.

Small, lower-income programs may not be able to afford a defibrillator, which on average costs about $2,000, according to the American Heart Association.

At Grand Park, a 400-acre sports complex with dozens of athletic fields, including 26 baseball fields, AEDs are stationed inside all concession stands and buildings, said Michelle Krcmery, marketing manager.

There are at least seven permanent defibrillators at the park, a decision that was made “in order to be prepared for an incident such as this,” she said, adding that the park’s safety protocols were written by the medical director at Westfield Fire Department, who is also a trauma physician.

“Youth sports embodies family, fun, healthy competitiveness and teamwork, so when a player is injured it is troubling to everyone involved, including the organization,” Krcmery said in an email to IndyStar. “As a continued measure, we are reviewing our public safety procedures as we speak to make sure we are always best equipped for an emergency.”

Baseball has a reputation as a nonviolent, low-impact sport, and, for the most part, it is.

Though there is no organization that tracks deaths in youth baseball leagues, a limited study commissioned by USA Baseball between 1989 and 2010 found that 18 children younger than high school age died of baseball injuries. Most of those happened when a pitcher or batter was hit in the head by a ball.

The other deaths occurred when a high-speed ball hit a player in the chest, causing sudden cardiac arrest.

That’s what those at the game Sunday think happened in Westfield during the tournament. Scott Foppe, the coach of the opposing Rawlings Tigers from Ballwin, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, was among three adults who administered CPR to the Carmel boy.

Foppe said he didn’t really want to talk about the incident. The story should be about the boy, his condition, his fight to live and not about a few adults who did what any adult would do, he said.

But Foppe did say one thing on the record.

“I think people should get the training,” he said, “especially coaches — high school, college, youth — you should all have the training in CPR.”

And there should, without question, be defibrillators stationed at every youth baseball field in America.

The Carmel player, whose name is not being released because of privacy issues, was on second base Sunday. The game was in the third inning when a Tigers player tried to steal second and the Carmel boy didn’t see the catcher’s throw.

After paramedics arrived, he was taken to St. Vincent in Carmel and was in the intensive care unit as of Sunday night. His condition as of Tuesday evening was not known.

Carmel Hounds coach Paul Wright, responding to an email from IndyStar, declined comment and referred the reporter to the Carmel Dads’ Club Travel Baseball, the league the Hounds play in.

An email to David Cutsinger, commissioner of Carmel Dads’ Club, and Jack Beery, president, was not immediately returned.

This isn’t the first time a serious youth baseball incident has happened in Indiana.

Dylan Williams, an 8-year-old boy from Union City, died in July 2013 when he was struck in the neck by a baseball. His death spurred a nonprofit to donate eight defibrillators to the area about 75 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

The Union City Baseball Boosters organization now requires all coaches to receive training in CPR and on how to use AEDs. One defibrillator was placed with Dylan’s family so they could always help should an incident arise similar to what happened to their son. Another was put at the baseball diamonds where he was killed.

All athletes, no matter the sport, should be within four minutes of an AED and someone trained to use it, according to the American Red Cross. In fact, the organization says all Americans should be that close to one, athlete or not. Improved training and access to AEDs could save 50,000 lives each year, Red Cross says.

Momentum for AEDs in youth baseball is growing nationwide and in at least one league in Indianapolis. Broad Ripple Haverford Little League recently acquired two defibrillators for use at its games. The devices will be kept at the concession stands at its two fields.

Earlier this month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law that requires all baseball fields on city-owned land to have a defibrillator onsite during youth games. The bill was sponsored by city councilman Steven Matteo, a youth baseball coach, who said at the time the law would “save lives.”

The defibrillators and training on how to use them will be paid for by the city.

Westfield, too, pays for Grand Park training. All staff and support staff at the park are trained on CPR and using the defibrillators.

“In this case, we are extremely grateful for the quick reaction of the parents and the first responder, a Westfield police officer,” said Krcmery, “as they both contributed to saving this player’s life.”

 

Benbow, Dana. “Update on Carmel Youth Baseball Player Who Suffered Near-fatal Hit.” Indy Star. IndyStar, 31 May 2016. Web. 07 June 2016.

13-year-old Carmel baseball player suffers near-fatal hit

CPR training of coaches and parents and defibrillators stationed at the park’s concession stands saved his life.

The baseball hit with a thud to his lower chest, right by his heart.

The second baseman for the Carmel Hounds youth travel team — who didn’t see the catcher’s throw coming his way — collapsed on the field Sunday at Grand Park in Westfield.

As he lay motionless on the ground, his skin turning gray, coaches and parents rushed to help, administering CPR.

But the 13-year-old boy didn’t have a pulse. He wasn’t responding.

And then came the tool that ultimately saved his life: an automatic external defibrillator pulled from the concession stand.

An AED, which restores a regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest, is rarely found at a baseball field. Most youth leagues — travel, recreational or sanctioned Little League — don’t require them.

Little League Baseball and Softball, with about 2.5 million kids playing each year, recommends that local leagues have AEDs but doesn’t mandate that they do. The reason, according to the league, is cost.

Small, lower-income programs may not be able to afford a defibrillator, which on average costs about $2,000, according to the American Heart Association.

At Grand Park, a 400-acre sports complex with dozens of athletic fields, including 26 baseball fields, AEDs are stationed inside all concession stands and buildings, said Michelle Krcmery, marketing manager.

There are at least seven permanent defibrillators at the park, a decision that was made “in order to be prepared for an incident such as this,” she said, adding that the park’s safety protocols were written by the medical director at Westfield Fire Department, who is also a trauma physician.

“Youth sports embodies family, fun, healthy competitiveness and teamwork, so when a player is injured it is troubling to everyone involved, including the organization,” Krcmery said in an email to IndyStar. “As a continued measure, we are reviewing our public safety procedures as we speak to make sure we are always best equipped for an emergency.”

Baseball has a reputation as a non-violent, low-impact sport, and, for the most part, it is.

Though there is no organization that tracks deaths in youth baseball leagues, a limited study commissioned by USA Baseball between 1989 and 2010 found that 18 children younger than high school age died of baseball injuries. Most of those happened when a pitcher or batter was hit in the head by a ball.

The other deaths occurred when a high-speed ball hit a player in the chest, causing sudden cardiac arrest.

That’s what those at the game Sunday think happened in Westfield during the tournament. Scott Foppe, the coach of the opposing Rawlings Tigers from Ballwin, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, was among three adults who administered CPR to the Carmel boy.

Foppe said he didn’t really want to talk about the incident. The story should be about the boy, his condition, his fight to live and not about a few adults who did what any adult would do, he said.

But Foppe did say one thing on the record.

“I think people should get the training,” he said, “especially coaches — high school, college, youth — you should all have the training in CPR.”

And there should, without question, be defibrillators stationed at every youth baseball field in America.

The Carmel player, whose name is not being released because of privacy issues, was on second base Sunday. The game was in the third inning when a Tigers player tried to steal second and the Carmel boy didn’t see the catcher’s throw.

After paramedics arrived, he was taken to St. Vincent in Carmel and was in the ICU as of Sunday night. His condition as of Tuesday evening was not known.

Carmel Hounds coach Paul Wright, responding to an email from IndyStar, declined comment and referred the reporter to the Carmel Dads’ Club Travel Baseball, the league the Hounds play in.

An email to David Cutsinger, commissioner of Carmel Dads’ Club, and Jack Beery, president, was not immediately returned.

This isn’t the first time a serious youth baseball incident has happened in Indiana.

Dylan Williams, an 8-year-old boy from Union City, died in July 2013 when he was struck in the neck by a baseball. His death spurred a nonprofit to donate eight defibrillators to the area about 75 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

The Union City Baseball Boosters organization now requires all coaches to receive training in CPR and on how to use AEDs. One defibrillator was placed with Dylan’s family so they would always be able to help should an incident arise similar to what happened to their son. Another was put at the baseball diamonds where he was killed.

All athletes, no matter the sport, should be within four minutes of an AED and someone trained to use it, according to the American Red Cross. In fact, the organization says all Americans should be that close to one, athlete or not. Improved training and access to AEDs could save 50,000 lives each year, Red Cross says.

Momentum for AEDs in youth baseball is growing nationwide and in at least one league in Indianapolis. Broad Ripple Haverford Little League recently acquired two defibrillators for use at its games. The devices will be kept at the concession stands at its two fields.

Earlier this month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law that requires all baseball fields on city-owned land to have a defibrillator onsite during youth games. The bill was sponsored by city councilman Steven Matteo, a youth baseball coach, who said at the time the law would “save lives.”

The defibrillators and training on how to use them will be paid for by the city.

Westfield, too, pays for Grand Park training. All staff and support staff at the park are trained on CPR and using the defibrillators.

“In this case, we are extremely grateful for the quick reaction of the parents and the first responder, a Westfield police officer,” said Krcmery, “as they both contributed to saving this player’s life.”

 

 

Bembow, Dana. “13-year-old Carmel Baseball Player Suffers Near-fatal Hit.” Indianapolis Star. Indy Star, 24 May 2016. Web. 25 May 2016.

 

 


Asthma does not have to be a sports-stopper for kids

You might remember a time when kids with asthma were discouraged from playing sports and told to take it easy. That’s no longer the case. Being active, working out and playing sports not only help kids with asthma stay fit, maintain a healthy weight and have fun, but also can strengthen their breathing muscles and help the lungs work better.

For these reasons, your doctor may recommend exercise as part of your child’s asthma treatment plan. If you have doubts about whether sports and asthma mix, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reports that asthma affects more than 20 percent of elite athletes and one in every six Olympic athletes.

Two important things that kids who have asthma should know about sports participation are their asthma must be under control in order for them to play sports properly and when it is well controlled, they can – and should – be active and play sports just like anyone else.

Of course, some sports are less likely than others to pose problems for people with asthma. Swimming, leisurely biking and walking are less likely to trigger asthma flare-ups, as are sports that require short bursts of activity like baseball, football, gymnastics and shorter track and field events.

Endurance sports, like long-distance running and cycling, and sports like soccer and basketball, which require extended energy output, may be more challenging. This is especially true for cold-weather sports like cross-country skiing or ice hockey. But that doesn’t mean kids can’t participate in these sports if they truly enjoy them. In fact, many athletes with asthma have found that, with proper training and medication, they can participate in any sport they choose.

To keep asthma under control, it’s important that kids take their medicine as prescribed.

Your child should carry quick-relief medicine (also called rescue or fast-acting medicine) at all times, even during workouts, in case of a flare-up.

It’s also a good idea to keep triggers in mind. Depending on their triggers, kids with asthma may want to skip outdoor workouts when pollen or mold counts are high, wear a scarf or ski mask when training outside during the winter, breathe through the nose instead of the mouth while exercising and make sure they always have time for a careful warm-up and cool-down.

These recommendations should be included in the asthma action plan you create with your child’s doctor.

Also, make sure that the coach knows about your child’s asthma and the asthma action plan. Most important, your child and the coach need to understand when it’s time for your child to take a break from a practice or game so that flare-ups can be managed before they become emergencies.

Source: “Tyler Morning Telegraph – Asthma Does Not Have to Be a Sports-stopper for Kids.” TylerPaper.com. N.p., 23 Sept. 2015. Web. 23 Sept. 2015.


Make sure an asthma action plan is on your back-to-school checklist

For nearly 7 million children living with asthma, gearing up for another school year involves much more than picking out a new pencil case and backpack.

Asthma is one of the main reasons that students miss school due to illness. All told, asthma causes more than 10 million lost school days every year. Parents, schools and health care providers can all play an active role to ensure that children with asthma can be healthy, safe, and ready to learn.

The American Lung Association has several tools and resources not only for parents, but also for school nurses other school personnel. Help create a community of support for children with asthma by using and sharing these free educational tools and resources.

Asthma Basics is our free online course that offers an overview of asthma management that is helpful for teachers, coaches, school nurses and parents. In this self-paced learning module, participants learn about asthma triggers, symptoms, steps to prevent an asthma episode and the actions to take to respond to a breathing emergency. Participants get access to a number of resources including an asthma action plan and medication demonstration videos.

Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative is a comprehensive approach to asthma management that aligns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Coordinated School Health model. This step-by-step guide includes best practices and template policies to create a safe and healthy learning environment. Parents can work with schools to ensure that asthma-friendly policies and practices are in place giving students with asthma the best chance for a successful school year.

We recommend that schools provide access to back-up quick-relief medication for students with asthma. By improving access to life-saving medication during the school day, schools can prevent a medical emergency. Our Stock Bronchodilator Model Policy is available for school districts.

Surveys have shown that some school personnel believe that elementary-aged children are not developmentally ready to carry their own asthma medication, in spite of research to the contrary. Through the Student Readiness Assessment Tool, we can empower students and increase confidence in their school nurses that students are able to self-carry their quick-relief inhalers during the school day and prevent emergencies.

The American Lung Association is committed to providing up-to-date information and resources to help keep children with asthma active and healthy. Wishing you all the best for a happy and healthy school year.

Source:


Make sure an asthma action plan is on your back-to-school checklist

For nearly 7 million children living with asthma, gearing up for another school year involves much more than picking out a new pencil case and backpack.

Asthma is one of the main reasons that students miss school due to illness. All told, asthma causes more than 10 million lost school days every year. Parents, schools and health care providers can all play an active role to ensure that children with asthma can be healthy, safe, and ready to learn.

The American Lung Association has several tools and resources not only for parents, but also for school nurses other school personnel. Help create a community of support for children with asthma by using and sharing these free educational tools and resources.

Asthma Basics is our free online course that offers an overview of asthma management that is helpful for teachers, coaches, school nurses and parents. In this self-paced learning module, participants learn about asthma triggers, symptoms, steps to prevent an asthma episode and the actions to take to respond to a breathing emergency. Participants get access to a number of resources including an asthma action plan and medication demonstration videos.

Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative is a comprehensive approach to asthma management that aligns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Coordinated School Health model. This step-by-step guide includes best practices and template policies to create a safe and healthy learning environment. Parents can work with schools to ensure that asthma-friendly policies and practices are in place giving students with asthma the best chance for a successful school year.

We recommend that schools provide access to back-up quick-relief medication for students with asthma. By improving access to life-saving medication during the school day, schools can prevent a medical emergency. Our Stock Bronchodilator Model Policy is available for school districts.

Surveys have shown that some school personnel believe that elementary-aged children are not developmentally ready to carry their own asthma medication, in spite of research to the contrary. Through the Student Readiness Assessment Tool, we can empower students and increase confidence in their school nurses that students are able to self-carry their quick-relief inhalers during the school day and prevent emergencies.

The American Lung Association is committed to providing up-to-date information and resources to help keep children with asthma active and healthy. Wishing you all the best for a happy and healthy school year.

Source: “Make Sure an Asthma Action Plan Is on Your Back-to-school Checklist.” Houston Herald. N.p., 05 Aug. 2015. Web. 05 Aug. 2015.


MHSAA introduces concussion testing pilot programs, insurance

By HUGH BERNREUTER

More than 25 years ago, Pete Ryan was blindsided during a football game and couldn’t remember the second half.

Finally, Monday, he was tested for a concussion.

Ryan, the Saginaw Heritage athletic director, was the test subject Monday for a new pilot program provided by the Michigan High School Athletic Association to help schools diagnose and document concussions.

“You already have a lot of schools out there doing things as far as in-game testing,” MHSAA information director John Johnson said. “The pilot programs are tests of the programs we’re using and the schools are using. We wanted to have enough schools involved to get some meaningful data back.”

Seventy schools will participate in two testing programs for the 2015-16 school year, committing to involve at least two sports for each gender each season.

The two programs are the King-Devick Test and the XLNTbrain Sport program.

Ryan, a member of the MHSAA Representative Council, was the test subject for the King-Devick Test, which asks athletes to read single-digit numbers on a tablet to detect changes in eye movement, attention, language and concentration after a hit to the head.

“It’s not hard,” said Ryan, who played football for Iron Mountain in 1987. “The idea is that ocular relations can determine if there is a concussion. The average baseline time is between 28 and 40 seconds.”

Athletes are tested prior to competition to determine a baseline number to compare against post-collision numbers. Ryan took the test twice. The first time took 41 seconds, the second 31.

The XLNTbrain Sport program involves a series of balance and cognitive tests to measure reaction time, attention, inhibition, impulses, memory, information processing, moods, anxiety and stress.

“They are two very different kinds of tests,” Johnson said. “King-Devick is well-established as far as what it does, and it’s endorsed by the Mayo Clinic. We will get feedback for both tests.

“The XLNT takes longer, from 26 to 30 minutes. The King-Devick only takes a few minutes. They are two completely different set-ups to get to the same end, basically to let coaches know if there are any red flags that come up to withhold a child from playing.”

The high school association will also mandate record-keeping for all member schools regarding potential concussion events from detection to the athlete’s return to play. The requirement applies to both genders and all levels of sports, from seventh grade through 12th grade.

“This is an all-sports thing,” Johnson said. “People think concussions, and they think football. But concussions cover all sports at all levels. We’re covering a lot of ground and anticipate getting a lot of data that we can use.”

The association will also provide extra insurance, free to its member schools and athletes. The insurance will help pay accident medical expenses, covering deductibles and co-pays left unpaid by other policies.

“It’s something that’s been well-received,” Johnson said. “We’re the first state association in the country to provide this insurance and the only one to do it at no expense to the school.”

Source: Bernreuter, Hugh. “MHSAA Introduces Concussion Testing Pilot Programs, Insurance.” N.p., 04 Aug. 2015. Web. 04 Aug. 2015.


Taking care of asthma: How to spot an attack and how to help

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 25 million Americans suffer from asthma — about one in every 12 people. Of those, roughly 7 million are children.

The number of those affected by the disease increases every year, resulting in significant health care expenses. In 2007, asthma cost the U.S. about $56 billion in medical costs, issued school and work days, and early deaths.

 As we spend more of our free time outdoors in the summer months, asthma can be particularly troublesome. As the air gets hotter and more humid, allergens increase.

Whether you or someone you know suffers from asthma, Danville Regional Medical Center wants to make sure you are prepared to fight asthma this summer.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by inflamed airways that cause wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing. Asthma attacks occur when certain irritants get into the lungs and cause muscles to tighten around already-inflamed airways. Extra mucous is often produced, which further restricts one’s airways during an attack.

Once diagnosed, asthma is often manageable if patients know what causes their attacks and try to avoid those triggers. However, asthma can limit what some patients can and cannot do.

How to prevent asthma attacks One way to prevent an asthma attack is to avoid triggers. Air pollution, smoke, allergens and mold are all common irritants that may cause an asthma attack. Patients should also diligently take any prescribed medications, develop a safe physical activity plan with their doctor and keep track of their symptoms.

How to recognize an attack If a child at camp starts wheezing while playing outside, how do you know if he or she is simply winded or really suffering from an asthma attack?

While the main signs are coughing, wheezing, breathlessness and chest tightness, these symptoms could also be the result of a cold, allergies or overexertion. For this reason, it is crucial that asthma sufferers always inform supervisors, colleagues or care providers of the disease so that proper care can be administered if an attack occurs.

What to do when an attack hits Administer the quick-relief medicine, typically an inhaler, and follow the patient’s Asthma Action Plan, a management plan developed by the patient and his or her health care provider. Parents should give any person that provides care to his or her child a copy of his or her Asthma Action Plan. This includes babysitters, sports coaches, school personnel, daycare providers, camp counselors, or anyone else who maybe responsible for your child. If an attack happens, they will need to know how to respond. Adult sufferers should also give their Asthma Action Plan to someone who can assist during an attack, such as a co-worker or exercise partner.

Source: “Taking Care of Asthma: How to Spot an Attack and How to Help.”GoDanRiver.com. N.p., 02 Aug. 2015. Web. 02 Aug. 2015.


Add Asthma, Allergy Plans to Your Back-to-School List

If your child has asthma or allergies, make sure his or her teacher, principal and school nurse know about it as part of your back-to-school planning, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) recommends.

“More than 10 million kids under age 18 have asthma, and one in four suffer from respiratory allergies,” ACAAI President Dr. James Sublett said in a news release from the organization.

“Many kids with asthma and food allergies don’t have a plan in place at school. An allergy or asthma action plan doesn’t do any good if it’s not shared with the people who can act on it,” he noted.

The first step is to have allergy/asthma control measures at home, such as lowering exposure to triggers and taking prescribed medications. At school, it’s important for teachers to know your child’s asthma and allergy triggers so that they can help the youngster avoid them in the classroom.

Parents should talk to principals and school nurses about how to handle allergy/asthma emergencies. All 50 states have laws that protect students’ rights to carry and use medicines for asthma and severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) at school.

Children at risk for life-threatening allergic reactions from certain foods or insect stings should carry epinephrine auto-injectors and have them available for immediate use, the ACAAI said.

Children with asthma and allergies should be able to take part in any school sport as long as they follow their doctor’s advice. Parents should ensure their child’s gym teacher and coaches know what to do in case of an asthma emergency.

Many children with food allergies are able to identify what they can and can’t eat, but it’s helpful if other parents and your child’s friends know, too. Some schools have policies restricting treats for special occasions. If your child’s school does not, be sure to tell other parents and children what types of foods your child must avoid.

Source: “Add Asthma, Allergy Plans to Your Back-to-School List.” Consumer HealthDay. N.p., 01 Aug. 2015. Web. 01 Aug. 2015.


Five summer tips to prevent asthma attacks

Summer break in Minnesota is a great time for children to recharge and play outdoors. But it is definitely not a good time to take a break from asthma medications and asthmamanagement.

Children who reduce or stop taking their asthma medications during the summer months are at a greater risk of serious asthma symptoms in the fall.

Even if children aren’t having symptoms, summer vacation doesn’t apply to asthma medications says Dr. Deborah McWilliams, pediatrician and chair of the Division of Community Pediatrics with Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

“It’s very important that people who have asthma continue to take all their asthma medications as prescribed over the summer, even if they don’t have symptoms,” McWilliams said.

“It’s the best way to prevent asthma symptoms from starting and curbing a possible asthma attack.”

Asthma hospitalizations and emergency department visits tend to spike in the fall, possibly due to viral respiratory infections and exposure to fall pollen and outdoor mold.

Children heading back to school also have closer personal contact with many more children, which increases their exposure to infections that can trigger an asthma attack.

Because of this trend, summer is a crucial time for parents to start gearing up for fall by scheduling an asthma ‘check-up’ with a health care provider.

Follow these five tips to have a healthy summer and start of school:

Take your asthma medications everyday – Children who reduce or stop taking their asthma medications during the summer months are at greater risk of serious asthma symptoms in the fall.

Schedule an asthma check-up – Summer is a good time to get ready for fall. Schedule an asthma check-up now with your health care provider for you or your child. It’s especially important for children to see their health care provider before school starts to adjust asthma medications, check your inhaler technique, and get an updated written asthma action plan (AAP) to have at home and give a copy to the school nurse. Talk with your health care provider about your asthma action plan and how to manage asthma on a daily basis before your child heads back to school.

Know and avoid your asthma triggers – Each person’s asthma responds to different triggers. Triggers such as colds (viruses), tobacco smoke, pollen, outdoor air pollution, wood smoke, mold, dander from animals and even cold air can irritate your airways and lead to an asthma attack. Sports and other outdoor activities can make asthma flare up. Work with your health care provider to create a written asthma action plan that lists your asthma triggers, medications and what to do to keep your asthma well controlled throughout the year.

Play with asthma – Be smart when you exercise. Carry your rescue inhaler with you during runs, workouts and team practices. Avoid exercising outdoors on days that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issues an Air Quality Alert. Exercising is good for people who have asthma, but it pays to play it safe.

Pack smart for camp and family travel – If your child is going to camp (day or overnight), tell them about your child’s asthma, their triggers, and give them a copy of the AAP along with any asthma medications. If you’re travelling across country or just for an overnight, make sure all asthma medications are packed, inhalers are full (check the expiration date) and that they’ll last the length of the trip.

Source: “Five Summer Tips to Prevent Asthma Attacks.” KVLY RSS. N.p., 30 July 2015. Web. 30 July 2015.


The Importance of Being Proactive When Coaching Children With Allergies

AllergyBy ELAINE KELLOGG

In recent years, there has been more and more talk about children with allergies, whether these allergies are minor or life threatening. This chatter is for good reason, as there has been an extreme increase in the number of people who are affected by allergies since the beginning of the millennium, though no one has an explanation as to why. Research has estimated that “up to 15 million Americans have food allergies… and this potentially deadly disease affects 1 in every 13 children” 1. This is an important statistic for any teacher, coach, or extracurricular program leader who has the responsibility of taking care of a large number of children to remember. When a teacher or coach is assigned a group of children to teach and look after, they need to have a thought in their mind about the potential of having a child with allergies and the severity of the situation that they could be dealing with.

allergy3One serious challenge when dealing with children who have allergies is the fact that children cannot always communicate with a teacher or coach about the allergies that they have. As someone with a younger brother who has experienced severe food allergies since birth, I know that before my brother was old enough, he did not even fully understand what having an allergy meant or what he could and could not eat. This can be extremely scary for parents of a child with allergies because they live in fear that one day their child may be offered something to eat by someone who is unaware of the allergy, and their child will not understand that they cannot eat it. Unknowingly, someone can offer his or her child something that could potentially kill the child if not treated immediately.

allergy2The first thing that we can do to help alleviate this scary situation is to educate those who are in charge of children about the different kinds of allergies and the possible reactions that could occur as a result of these allergies. Secondly, these people in charge also need to be well informed about the specific allergies that a child has before they assume responsibility for that child. Even in a seemingly harmless situation, a child could have an unexpected reaction if a teacher or coach is uninformed and unaware. Take a youth soccer practice for example: A boy’s mother decides to bring snacks to practice one day, not knowing that any allergies exist for any player on the team. The snacks that she brings are peanut butter cookies, which her son is able to eat so she doesn’t think twice about bringing. The coach has not been informed of any peanut allergies on the team (or he has briefly, but forgotten) and thinks nothing of the snacks the mother has brought. A little boy on the team, unknowing about the ingredients in the cookies, takes a bite and goes into anaphylactic shock. Now lets take the story one step further. The coach, now realizing that one of his players is experiencing an allergic reaction does not even know whether this boy has an Epi-pen or where it would be located.

allergy4This scenario is the exact scenario that causes so many parents to worry about their child who suffers from allergies. Most parents will tell the coach or teacher at the beginning of the season or school year if their child suffers from allergies and what these allergies are specifically, but it is so easy for someone to forget if they are not reminded. Additionally, if a coach or teacher knows about an allergy but cannot locate an Epi-pen, then knowing about the allergy does them almost no good. In order to prevent a situation like the one played out earlier, it is crucial that coaches, teachers, and anyone who is in charge of children has a sense of what they are dealing with when it comes to allergies, whether it be food, seasonal, or insect related allergies. They need to know who has them, what they may be, and how to react if something does go wrong and a child has a reaction. It has to be a top priority for them to make sure they know who is allergic to what so that they can always be looking out for the children who cannot eat certain things. By being aware and prepared, coaches and teachers can put parents at ease knowing that their child’s allergies are a concern and a priority, and that they will be in good hands in the event that they have a reaction.


1 foodallergy.org