photo by Lindsey Camp

by Carnell Lyon, staff writer

Year after year, people die after suffering from asthma’s wrath. However, it can be prevented with knowledge of its unseen potential.

The underestimation of asthma comes from a lack of information and the mistaken innocence of the disorder. Asthma is a condition where the airways become inflamed, narrow, and swollen including the production of extra mucus, which makes it extremely hard to breathe.

“We should increase education and awareness and look for signs, symptoms, and complications that can arise with an asthma attack,” school registered nurse Dianna Colcombe said.

Signs that show if an asthma attack is occurring are coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and chest pain. If people have more knowledge on the symptoms, there is a higher chance they could be an aid in these situations.

At 4 years old, I had my first asthma attack my family and I were visiting the U.S. from England by plane.

In England, I always had trouble breathing. Doctors always told me I had nothing to worry about, diagnosing it as mild bronchitis. After constant misdiagnosis and fallacious whims, we went on the plane with no worries. Mysteriously something on the plane triggered an asthma attack and a dark indigo encompassed my face. In a frenzy, my mother immediately noticed I had ceased breathing. The plane made an emergency landing. I was taken to the nearest hospital and diagnosed with asthma.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 22.9 million people were diagnosed with asthma in 2007 in the U.S. In 2010, 25.7 million people were diagnosed with asthma with the CDC reporting a 28% increase between 2001-2011.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), nine people die everyday from asthma attacks in the U.S. It‘s due to the increasing prevalence of the condition and the lack of knowledge that leads to unfortunate delay of help. When a phenomena becomes too frequent such as coughing and wheezing, it becomes common.

The common cold has simply become a social norm. Nose sniffles run wild. Tissues fill trash cans. Coughing pervades the atmosphere.

Asthma cannot become so casual. It needs to be taken seriously and acted on immediately when it strikes.

“There was a girl in my class who started breathing heavy in and she had to sit down because she was light headed. We later realized that she was having an asthma attack,” junior Kyle Snay said.

Staring in awe is not an option when you are witnessing someone having an asthma attack. Look for the nearest professional to try and handle the situation.

Education about the disorder needs to be expanded. With the number of asthmatics growing, awareness must grow with it. Brochures about asthma should be placed in schools for instructional and informational purposes.