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Text Away an Asthma Attack

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Text Away an Asthma Attack

Can a text message head off an asthma attack?

What if you could lower your child’s risk of an asthma attack with a single text message?

It sounds too good to be true, but according to a recent study by the Georgia Institute of Technology, pediatric patients who were asked about their symptoms and provided with tips for managing their asthma demonstrated better pulmonary function and greater knowledge of their condition than those who didn’t.

In the study, researchers randomly assigned 30 asthmatic children between the ages of 10 and 17 into one of three groups—a control group that did not receive texts, a group that received texts every other day, and a group that received daily texts. The text messages typically consisted of questions about their symptoms, as well as general information about asthma.

After four months, participants held follow-up meetings with their physicians. The researchers reported improved pulmonary function and medical awareness in the groups that regularly received text messages, when compared to those that didn’t.

In other words, cell phones just might be one of the strongest weapons in the fight against asthma.

Cell phone usage among tweens and teens has been rapidly increasing over the past several months. According to a report released by the Pew Research Center last March, more than half (53 percent) of children aged 12 to 17 have a cell phone. One quarter (23 percent) use a smartphone. And they check their phones constantly; the participants in the Georgia Tech study responded to text messages 87 percent of the time, typically within 22 minutes.

It seems it makes sense, then, to send daily asthma reminders. Teens can check on their condition just as easily as they can their Facebook or Twitter accounts (and considering the millennial obsession with social media, that’s pretty often). Best of all, parents can check in with their child whenever and wherever.

Is your teen headed out on a date on a muggy July night? A simple reminder telling him to check his peak flow meter will ensure some peace of mind. Concerned your middle-schooler might forget to clean her nebulizer mask while she’s at sleep away camp? You can put her in the know in a matter of seconds.

Asthma prevention is a tricky, life-long process that often involves complex treatment. Nebulizers can be confusing, and it’s important that your loved ones be up to speed on their proper usage so they can work effectively. Lucky for parents, a text a day can keep the asthma away.

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Zoe Camp