For people living with asthma, managing the condition becomes part of their daily life. But some may not know that, in spite of their best efforts, their asthma may still be uncontrolled.
Benjamin Buckley was one of those people. Ben, as he was known, was just 7 years old when he died from asthma-related complications in 2014. Now, Ben’s mother, Cristin Buckley, is sharing his story in an effort to help raise awareness of just how serious asthma can be.
According to Cristin, it was a normal Saturday morning in the Buckley household. Ben went to his sister’s basketball game with the rest of the family, but when the game ended, Ben asked if he could go home and use his nebulizer, as he was experiencing an asthma attack.
Later that day, Cristin received a frantic call from her husband and daughter and came home to find Ben had collapsed in the driveway. Police and paramedics were already on the scene performing CPR. They were able to start Ben’s heart, but he was unconscious and not able to breathe on his own. He remained in a coma for five days until he passed away.
“What we didn’t realize was that Ben was using his rescue inhaler way more than he should have been. We were refilling it once a month,” said Cristin. “The pharmacy just kept refilling the prescription, so we didn’t think it was an issue. Looking back now, we know his asthma was uncontrolled.”
And it appears the Buckley family is not alone, as studies indicate that asthma is responsible for deaths every day in the United States, most of which are believed to occur in patients with uncontrolled asthma.
“Uncontrolled asthma can have a huge impact on a patient’s health,” said Dr. Purvi Parikh, a New York City-based allergist and immunologist and national spokesperson for the Allergy and Asthma Network. “Patients may not know the signs — but if someone is using their rescue inhaler more than twice a week, and their asthma is interrupting daily activities and sleep, they should really talk to their doctor immediately to assess if it is uncontrolled.”
Cristin’s number one priority today is that Ben’s asthmatic twin brother Adam, now 11 years old, is equipped to handle an attack on his own. To ensure he is prepared, Cristin takes Adam for his annual check-up with his allergist before the school year starts.
“Make sure their doctor takes the time to sit down and teach them how to properly use their inhaler,” Cristin said. “People think they can just put it in their mouth and take a few puffs and it works just fine, but so much medicine is wasted or doesn’t get into the lungs because they’re not taking a deep enough breath.”
Another one of her main priorities, particularly before school starts, is to make sure all of Adam’s inhalers have enough medicine in them. As such, Cristin relies on inhalers fitted with dose counters to help both her and Adam better manage his asthma. A dose counter works by showing the user exactly how many doses are left in the inhaler — similar to looking at a bottle of pills to see how much medicine is left.
“I think dose counters are one of the best things ever invented,” Cristin said. “Before they were integrated into inhalers, you were blindly leading your child. You had no idea how much medicine was left.”
Dr. Parikh also noted that the addition of a dose counter to asthma management can create a helpful dialogue between patients and their doctors. She explained how the dose counter allows the doctor to see how much medicine has been used since the previous visit and determine if a patient is using their rescue inhaler too frequently.
“When using an inhaler that does not include a dose counter, you really are taking a gamble on your life,” said Cristin.
For additional information on the importance of dose counters, visit KnowYourCount.com, and for more on Ben and Cristin’s story, visit www.BenWasHere.org.
Mrs. Buckley has been compensated for her time in contributing this program.
10 tips to keep infants safe
October is Safe Sleep Awareness Month and the U.S. continues to have a higher infant mortality rate than any of the other 27 wealthy countries. The World Health Organization reports that a U.S.-born baby is almost three times more likely to die before the age of 1 versus babies born in Finland or Japan.
Of the many causes of infant mortality, one that is preventable is suffocation in an unsafe sleep environment. A majority of infant deaths related to sleep could be prevented if parents are empowered with the latest information and tools, such as those from The Baby Box Co., which aims to help new families by offering similar resources to those that have helped Finland reduce its infant mortality statistics over the past 80 years.
Ideal as a parent starter kit, Baby Boxes also serve as a safe sleep space for babies. While parents can use the products inside and the portable safe sleep space, it’s the parenting education they receive through the company’s online program, Baby Box University, that is key to keeping babies safe.
“Whether you are a first time parent or have many children, it’s important to continually update yourself on medical recommendations for safe sleep,” said Dr. Dyann Daley, a pediatric anethesiologist and founder of the nonprofit organization Predict, Align, Prevent Inc. “Sometimes, well-meaning medical professionals may not be aware of current best practices. These tips, based on recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, can help give babies a safe start in life.”
(BPT) - The big day has finally arrived and your newborn is here. Your baby is as perfect as you imagined and you’re filled with a love you never knew existed. Even before she or he arrived, you started making more careful choices and looked for gentle alternatives with natural-based ingredients for your little bundle of joy.
One thing that needs to be considered when seeking out gentle options for babies is their skin — and that starts with the precious threads in babies’ clothing, according to pediatric dermatologist Dr. Jody Levine.
“As a pediatric dermatologist and mother of five, I know that babies’ skin can go through many changes throughout infancy, and the majority are perfectly normal,” Levine says. “There are simple ways parents can protect babies’ skin from irritants, such as pre-washing clothes before first wear and choosing gentle fabrics.”
Levine offers parents some tips on how to keep the world gentle for your little one:
1. Moisturize when needed.
Peeling skin around the wrists and ankles is a normal part of a baby’s development, and requires no treatment. However, if dry or sensitive skin persists after the first few weeks of life, special care may be needed. Keep baths short, use water that’s warm, but not hot, and a small amount of gentle cleanser. For babies with dry skin, moisturize twice daily using an ointment or a cream, preferably one with many ceramides.
2. Choose the gentle fabrics.
Infant skin is definitely more sensitive than adult skin, so the fabrics you put against your baby’s skin can affect her comfort and skin health. Choose light, comfortable clothes that are free of pleats or seams that can put unnecessary pressure on a baby’s skin. Fabrics should be soft and absorbent, such as cotton or cotton blends like cotton polyester or cotton spandex.
3. Wash clothing before using it for the first time.
"Nine out of 10 dermatologists recommend parents wash baby’s clothing before wearing it for the first time, according to a survey by Dreft laundry detergent and I agree," Levine says. While 97 percent of parents surveyed by Dreft said they believe it’s important to pre-wash baby clothes, just 40 percent actually do so every time. New clothing can harbor dirt, excess dyes and processing chemicals, so it’s important to pre-wash clothes using a gentle, yet effective detergent like Dreft purtouch that is 65 percent plant-based and made from naturally derived ingredients. Wash your newborn’s clothing separate from the rest of the laundry.
4. Use products specifically made for babies.
When choosing a skin care product for your baby, such as sunscreen, look for one specifically designed for use on infants. These baby products have been tested and proven to be gentle and less irritating to a baby’s skin. For example, baby sunscreen, which parents should start using after a baby turns 6 months old, usually contains physical blocking elements like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, rather than the chemical blockers used in some adult sunscreens.
5. Do your best at diaper duty.
The diaper region requires extra attention since it’s prone to wetness and irritation. Change your baby’s diaper frequently, especially when it’s wet or soiled. A more absorbent diaper will help keep moisture away from baby’s skin longer. Always dry the diaper area well after cleaning or a bath. If your baby is prone to diaper rash, try a zinc-based diaper cream with every diaper change to help soothe and protect skin.
“All parents want to care for their baby in the best way,” Levine says. “Little things, like prewashing new baby clothing in a gentle baby detergent and moisturizing as needed, can help keep the world gentle for your little one and his or her skin.”
(BPT) - Most parents, or soon-to-be parents, are often aware of the obvious baby proofing checklist items: baby gates, electrical outlet covers, cabinet locks, sharp furniture corners, etc. However, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there are a surprising number of "hidden" hazards around the home. These hazards, such as window cords, hide in plain sight and should be on everyone's list of items to baby proof.
Corded window coverings are a strangulation hazard as infants and young children can accidentally become entangled in the cords. CPSC, the window covering industry and consumer safety advocates all agree that only cordless window coverings or those with inaccessible cords should be used in homes with young children. The window covering industry's Best for Kids(TM) certification program makes it easy for parents and caregivers to identify the window covering products that are best suited for homes with young children.
According to the CPSC, corded window coverings are one of the top five hidden hazards in American homes. The Window Covering Safety Council urges parents and caregivers to watch for these potential hazards around the home and offers the following tips:
In addition to these top five hazards, parents and care givers should also be aware of the following potential hazards in their homes:
Learn more about how you can make your window coverings safer for children by visiting the Window Covering Safety Council.
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