Six-year-old t-ball star Peyton Taylor says her favorite Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHOR) memory is getting her asthma under control, so it’s fitting that she was chosen to be pictured with an article on managing asthma for an active life in CHoR’s 2016 Tidbits calendar.
Before coming to CHoR’s pulmonary medicine team in 2014, Peyton’s asthma attacks were so frequent that she was in the emergency room or doctor’s office at least once a month. She also coughed so much at night that she couldn’t sleep. Her mom, Linda, said Peyton “would cough a lot and gasp for breath” and was frequently prescribed medications to reduce the inflammation in her airways.
But within a week of meeting Dr. Michael S. Schechter, and changing asthma medications, she improved dramatically. Peyton “has been great ever since,” Linda said.
Asthma affects an average of one in 10 school-age children and is characterized by wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and other breathing difficulties. It is one of the most common causes of hospitalization in children and the top reason for missed school days. Although asthma does not have a cure, it can be managed with proper prevention and treatment.
“Peyton came to me because she’d been having problems with asthma and recurrent wheezing, and had been in and out of emergency departments and the hospital,” said Dr. Schechter. “She had been treating her asthma with rescue and controller medication, but to get better control of her asthma, we needed to step up her therapy and make some other adjustments.”
While most of Peyton’s asthma attacks were brought on by cold viruses, Dr. Schechter also suspected allergies played a role and ordered a blood test to identify her allergens. He found significant reactions to dust, dogs and cats and suggested strategies to reduce Peyton’s exposure and prescribed medications to control her allergy symptoms. “She has not had any further hospitalizations or emergency room visits since I met her. While getting a cold is her most common asthma trigger, this past winter she had a couple of colds that caused only mild symptoms and were not major issues the way they had previously been.”
Peyton, who lives 60 miles south of Richmond in Jarratt, Va., now sees Dr. Schechter every three to four months. Having her asthma under control means a more active daily life. “She’s a ball of energy and loves being outside,” said Linda. “She loves to dance, played t-ball this summer and wants to be a cheerleader.”
According to Dr. Schechter, with well-managed care, children with asthma should be able to run, play hard, exercise and do anything anyone else can do (except smoke). What better way to illustrate this empowering message than a smiling photo of Peyton.
Editor’s Note: This “Meet our Calendar Kids” blog series highlights children featured in CHoR’s 2016 Tid*Bits calendar. We’d like to thank all patients, siblings and parents who participated this year. Join our mailing list to receive future issues of the Tid*Bits calendar and newsletters. We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Peyton, our featured patient for April 2016.
Information contributed by Children’s Hospital Foundation