World Asthma Day spotlights detection, treatment of condition in children

About 8 percent of children in America have asthma - but the number is higher in Metro Detroit.

"In Detroit you’re looking at twice that rate," said Dr. Pavadee Poowuttikul.

It’s something Khyra Jackson from Warren, knows all too well with what her daughter deals with.

"She’s already diagnosed with asthma and I feel like (her younger sister) has asthma," Jackson said. "I feel like it’s an asthma cough."

On Tuesday Jackson brought 4-year-old Treasure and Talia who will turn 2 this month, to Children’s Hospital of Michigan Asthma and Allergy Clinic in search of specialized care.

"You always wonder are they going to stop breathing, is the medicine going to work, am I going to have to take them to the hospital," said Jackson.

Medical professionals say there are several reasons why recent studies have placed Michigan as being one of the top 10 worst states to have children suffering from asthma, a respiratory condition causing difficulty in breathing. Symptoms include coughing and wheezing.

"Genetics plays a role there (and) what we call as epigenetics factors," said Dr. Poowuttikul. "Which is something in the environment actually playing a role."

May 2nd is World Asthma Day, backpacks full of informational resources and a teddy bear are being provided to patients at Detroit Children’s Hospital to help increase awareness.

"It’s so important because many people don’t know how to take good care of asthma especially when it’s a new diagnosis," said Kathleen Slonager, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Organizers say these backpacks work to transform lives.

"Astrazeneca helped sponsor the backpacks - it’s so full of information and the parents or guardians will have places to call if they still have questions," said Slonager.

Doctors say future treatment at the clinic will include a remote asthma monitoring program.

"We'll have a device it’s called Wheezo that will actually tell the patient that you are wheezing, and it's Bluetooth to their phone, they will tell the patient you’re wheezing and to use your inhaler," said the doctor.

Parents say they just want their kids to be healthy.

"I’m just trying to get them the best care that I can get," said Jackson.