Stories about: asthma

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

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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
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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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Getting in the ring with asthma

Joel110-year-old Joel was diagnosed with asthma at age 2, which was difficult news for his mother Ellis, but not at all surprising. “Joel’s father, aunt and grandmother are all asthmatic,” says Ellis. “His father recently was hospitalized due to his asthma, but thankfully he’s doing better now.”

For years, Joel used an inhaler to increase airflow to his lungs and control his asthma attacks. But as he got older, his symptoms worsened, and the inhaler wasn’t helping. 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.

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Sneezin’s’ greetings: How to avoid holiday allergy triggers

By Andrew MacGinnitie, MD, PhD, associate clinical director of the Division of Immunology at Children’s Hospital Boston

The holidays are a lot of fun for children and adults alike, but for those with allergies and asthma the season can be a little difficult at times. Homemade treats, seasonal decorations and visiting friends and family can all be potential allergy and/or asthma triggers. Here are a few easy ways to avoid some of the more common offenders this winter.

Holiday food

Holiday celebrations are often filled with new and different foods. From plates of cookies to potlucks where everyone brings their favorite dish, this time of year presents plenty of opportunities for people with food allergies to be exposed to foods that could cause reactions. Peanuts and tree nuts in baked goods are the most obvious risks, but these same treats may also contain eggs or milk―common triggers for people with food allergies, especially younger children.

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Back-to-school health: Avoiding September asthma flare-ups

By Andrew MacGinnitie, MD, PhD, associate clinical director of the Division of Immunology at Children’s Hospital Boston

The onset of fall means shorter days, the closing of summer camps and, this year, a less-than-triumphant winding down of the Red Sox’s season. It’s also back-to-school time for thousands of families. For most people this means stocking up on new clothes and school supplies, but for families of children with asthma, September also marks the start of the fall asthma epidemic. Each year the number of children with asthma rushed to emergency departments and admitted to hospitals spikes a few weeks after school starts.

So what’s causing this annual epidemic? Most often it’s the sharing of viral infections—rhinovirus in particular—that spread much more easily when children are cooped up together in classrooms. Typically rhinovirus will cause common cold symptoms, but in children with asthma, infection can spread to the lungs and trigger a severe asthma attack. Kids also tend to spend more time outside in the summer, and sunlight acts as a natural disinfectant for many germs.

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