Asthma takes safari tomorrow morning

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 5, 2000

Features Editor

Oct. 4, 2000 10 PM

The excitement has been building all week long and Friday’s the day when a special group of youngsters will leave the confines of the classroom and go "on safari."

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

To qualify for this exciting adventure, a student must have been diagnosed with asthma because the fun-filled event is an "Asthma Safari."

The Asthma Safari will be held from 8 a.m. until noon at the Family Life Center and students in second through fifth grades throughout the county have been invited to attend, said Terry Watkins, Edge Regional Medical Center health awareness coordinator.

"The Asthma Safari is a fun even which lasts about one hour," Watkins said. "There will be puppet shows and instructions at three separate stages that will educate children about different facets of asthma care such as the use of peak flow meters, spacers and breathing exercises. This all takes place in an African Safari setting and jungle animals will help the students better understand and manage their condition."

Watkins said Dr. Patricia Block at Charles Henderson Child Health Center encouraged the safari concept two years ago.

"Our city

and county school nurses have really worked hard to make the Asthma Safari work and we have had tremendous support from the community," Watkins said.

"We appreciate everyone who is involved because asthma is a significant problem in Pike County. It counts for one-third of school days lost in the United States, so anything we can do to help these young people manage their asthma is time and effort well spent."

Watkins said asthma is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases of childhood. More than 3.9 million children under age 18 have it. Many remain undiagnosed. Thirty-five to 40 million children, or 15 to 25 percent of U.S children, have allergic rhinitis (hay fever).

"In 1998, the Charles Henderson Child Health Center pediatricians saw about 1,300 patients with a diagnosis of allergies or asthma,"

Watkins said. "In addition, 28 percent of our hospital admissions were results of uncontrolled asthma."

The American Lung Association, along with Edge Regional Medical Center and the Charles Henderson Child Health Center have been working together to promote asthma awareness and encourage appropriate care.

"We are very excited about the steps were are taking to promote awareness and encourage appropriate care," Watkins said. "The Asthma Safari is just one of the ways

and we are looking forward to taking the children on this fun and educational safari."

Primary sponsors are ERMC and CHCHC. Others include Alpha Gam Sororities, Troy Housing Authority, Pike Sewing Guild, Charity League, Pike County High Art Department, Charles Henderson High Art Department, Plantation Nursery, Charles Henderson Middle School Art Department, Aventis Pharmaceutical, Glaxo Welcome, The Nineteenth Century Club, Key

Pharmaceuticals, Schering Laboratories, Russell Inc., Forest Pharmaceuticals, Astra Zineca, UCB Pharmaceutical Inc., Asthma Allergy Clinic of Dothan and community volunteers.