Knowledge needed to live and breathe
Most of us take for granted the fact that we can breathe without giving it a second thought.
But it can be a challenge for Jack Anderson.
The 13-year-old, who has suffered from asthma since he was two, controls his condition with medication and by keeping fit.
But there are certain things that can set off an attack.
“If I go to a friend’s house I can’t stay the night if they have cats,” he says.
“I can’t have any animals apart from fish or mice.”
Playing sports such as tennis helps but Jack has to make sure he doesn’t push himself too hard.
“Sometimes I can get really wheezy,” he says.
But the Mt Eden resident always makes sure he has his inhaler nearby in case he needs to have a “secret” puff.
Jack’s mum Sarah says he has been able to self-manage the condition for several years now.
“He’s really responsible and always makes sure he’s got his inhaler with him.
“When he was younger he had to go to hospital a few times. We had to make a call about whether to get more effective treatment.”
Sarah says the family have good knowledge of how to deal with an asthma attack. Her husband Brian is a doctor in the paediatric unit at Starship hospital, while she is a former nurse.
Brian has also suffered from chronic asthma since childhood.
“We are used to it because we’re a more medical household,” Sarah says.
However Sarah says initiatives such as the Asthma Foundation’s Balloon Day, this Saturday are a great way to educate families who don’t have medical professionals in the house.
Asthma Foundation executive director Jane Patterson says the aim of the day is to help families affected by the condition in any way possible.
“Improved services for people with asthma would give many more people the chance to live healthier, happier lives.”
For more information on Balloon Day events visit www. asthmafoundation.org.nz.
Asthma ace: Mt Eden resident Jack Anderson plays sport such as tennis to keep his asthma under control.