Stories about: asthma

Spring health cheat sheet

Health & Safety Series As the spring weather approaches, many common winter infections recede. However, warmer temperatures can introduce a new set of health challenges.

As trees and flowers bloom and grass grows, susceptible children will start to display symptoms of seasonal allergies, triggering flares of asthma and eczema. And, As children spend more time outdoors, parents also need to watch for exposure to ticks, poison ivy and excess sun.

Here are a few tips to keeping your child healthy this spring.

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Experience Journal: Asthma

childhood asthma

Asthma is the most common chronic medical condition in the U.S., affecting nearly 10 percent of the population. The rate can be even higher in children; some Boston public schools report rates as high as 16 percent among students.

Children growing up with asthma often face difficulty breathing, and they may feel isolated from their peers. While this condition can be disruptive to a child’s life, it can be well controlled with proper medical care.

exprience-journal-logo-5 The Asthma Experience Journal, created by the Boston Children’s Hospital Department of Psychiatry and the Allergy and Asthma Program, includes stories and personal experiences that represent the collective wisdom of children, young adults and families living with pediatric asthma. In this Journal, patients and families were interviewed about their experiences with asthma from dealing with medication to coping with physical and emotional challenges. Here are some of their stories in their own words.

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Nursing, full circle: A lifetime of care for Jacky


Jacky Steiding has worked at Boston Children’s Hospital for 24 years — first as a clinical assistant and now as nursing clinical coordinator of the Boston Children’s Division of Pulmonary and Respiratory Diseases. But her relationship with Boston Children’s goes back much further, to before she can even remember.

“I spent many evenings in the emergency room at Boston Children’s,” says Jacky, who was diagnosed with asthma as a young girl and struggled with the condition her entire childhood. “My mom wouldn’t take me anywhere else.” She remembers her mother’s hand rubbing her forehead and the nurses’ calming voices, assuring her she would be all right.

Jacky with her grandmom and dad

Over time, she came to think of Boston Children’s as a healing space — “my safe place that helped me breath again.”

That feeling of being safe stuck with Jacky.

When she was planning for college during senior year of high school, Jacky asked for guidance from her history teacher, Mr. Marston. She told him about her struggles with asthma and that she wanted to help children feel safe. He suggested nursing school.

“In hindsight, nursing was my calling,” says Jacky. “But I didn’t realize it until that talk with Mr. Marston.”

Pursuing nursing was the right decision for Jacky.

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August highlights: Overcoming diabetes, asthma and more

Catch up on what you may have missed on Thriving last month. Our staff takes a look back at a few of this month’s favorite posts.

How to survive six months in the wilderness with type 1 diabetes

Hiking in Vermont

Rachel Hemond, an 18-year-old who has type 1 diabetes, doesn’t need much direction when it comes to survival. This winter, Rachel completed a 600-mile circumnavigation of Vermont by backcountry ski, white water canoe, rowboat and bicycle—and kept her diabetes under control.

Read more about how Rachel manages her diabetes.

Overcoming IBD obstacles…and traveling the world

Megan was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis on December 23, 2009—her life changed forever. She went from a healthy and active 14-year-old to a teen with some very concerning symptoms. A few years later, a decision to have surgery changed her life and allowed her to travel the globe.

Experience Megan’s journeys.

“When you hit rock bottom…the only way to go is up.”

Justin at his first 5K in 2014 and his second in 2015 after nine months of rehabilitation
Justin at his first 5K in 2014 and his second in 2015 after nine months of rehabilitation

The Franciscan Hospital for Children Heartbreak Hill 5K on June 14, 2014, was a special day for Justin Ith. It was the first time the 16-year-old, who weighed a mere 70 pounds at the time, had been outside for months. As a nurse pushed the wheelchair-bound teen across the finish line, he turned to her and vowed, “Next year, I’m going to finish this race by myself.”

Learn about Justin’s triumph.

Getting in the ring with asthma


10-year-old Joel was diagnosed with asthma at age 2, which was difficult news for his mother Ellis. At age 6, a severe asthma attack landed Joel at Boston Children’s Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine with the risk of a collapsed lung. After spending two weeks in the hospital, Joel was released home and referred to Boston Children’s Community Asthma Initiative (CAI)—a free program that helps Boston-area families manage their child’s asthma at home.

Find out how Joel and Ellis keep his asthma under control.

5 things to know about teens and depression

Depression impacts many youth and families across the U.S. Up to 28% of young people experience an episode of major depression by age 19 with an average onset age of 13 years old. However, only 38% of teens experiencing depression receive treatment. Raising awareness is a key step to addressing depression.

Learn how you can help teens with depression.

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