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Health Plus-Asthma

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Shell Rock (KWWL) Asthma used to leave kids on the sidelines when it came time for outdoor activities--especially sports.  But today treatment advances allow children with asthma and allergies to stay in the game.

You'd never know this active 11-year-old has asthma.  Kierstin Heim was diagnosed with the chronic condition at age 5 and has been hospitalized several times because of it.

"Kierstin's a go-getter.  She pushes it to the limit.  So whether she had that diagnosis or not it was just a matter of her understanding at what point she needed to tell the coach, 'I need out,' or needed to say, 'That's enough,'" says her mom, Holly.

Thanks to easy-to-use inhalers and nebulizers, children like Kierstin can participate in outdoor sports--even at the height of allergy season.

"If I'm having a lot of trouble, I usually do it at halftime but I can carry it in my soccer bag," she says.

This doctor at Covenant Clinic in Shell Rock treats patients with asthma.  She says thirty to fifty percent of asthmatics have seasonal allergies.

"Right now tree pollen counts are pretty high.  Pretty soon you'll get more grass pollen counts will also go up so this is a tough time for allergy sufferers," says Dr. Jessica Boevers.

The Tripoli fifth grader says she feels ten times better thanks to her medication but her mom says the key for young people like Kierstin is to know their limitations--and her daughter seems to get that.

"Don't worry about it.  Just tell your coach or whoever's helping you out, tell them you have problems and they should probably help you out about it," says Kierstin.

Good advice from someone who won't let asthma slow her down.

Doctors say exercise can actually decrease asthma triggers by strengthening your cardiovascular system.

By Tara Thomas

 

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