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A Peek at the Pump
A Peek at the Pump

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Online learning resources for diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and nutrition.
Diabetes 101: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels, and your diet.
Diabetes 201: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugars, and your diet.
Asthma 101: Learn more about asthma and dealing with shortness of breath.
Hypertension 101: Learn more about hypertension and managing your blood pressure.
Nutrition 101: Learn more about improving your nutrition and diet

"Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward."
~Henry Ford

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Parenting: Growing in Good Health

Breathing Room: Asthma Books for Kids

By Naomi Mendelsohn

When I got stuck with asthma, more than anything else I wanted to talk to another kid who had the same problem I did. I felt sure if I could find such a kid, my asthma would be a lot easier to live with.

Learning to live with a chronic disease may feel like an uphill battle. But this same terrain is even steeper and rockier when braved by a child.

Enter asthma.

" It’s not as much of a stigma as it used to be, but it is definitely still an issue," says Susan Janson, Ph.D., R.N., A.N.P., an asthma specialist and the Director of the Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of California, San Francisco. "Kids with asthma can feel alone."

The challenge, and the solution, is to show kids with asthma that they are not alone — that they share their struggle with some 6 million other children.

Enter books.

Like the many teens who have found solace in Holden Caulfield or the adults who have learned from the characters of Gail Sheehy, kids with asthma can find adventure and companionship in the following children’s books.

And who knows, these books might just help kids make peace with their disease.

The Lion Who Had Asthma
By Jonathan London

Ages: Preschool through second grade

When the author’s son Sean was diagnosed with asthma as a baby, the experience was shocking to the entire family. After a whirlwind education and plenty of patience, Sean’s asthma was eventually controlled through various medications and treatments. But nothing has been more helpful for Sean, and his family, in dealing with this disease than Sean’s own imagination.

"Breathing exercises and visualization help lead to relaxation," explains author Jonathan London. "Visualization is a product of the imagination, and like most young children Sean has a great imagination. Encourage a child’s imagination! It is not only an asset in the treatment of asthma but enhances life itself."

London’s book, The Lion Who Had Asthma, is an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand picture book about Sean and his asthma. Throughout the book, Sean is transformed into a hippo, a giant and a lion. These changes inform Sean that a vivid imagination can help him overcome just about anything, even a chronic illness. Written without the medical jargon, this cheerful book will reassure even the most fearful child.

I’m Tougher than Asthma
By Alden R. Carter and Siri M. Carter

Ages: Kindergarten through fourth grade

You’d never know that Siri Carter has asthma. She still plays with toads. She still steals bases. She still hangs out with her friends. Siri’s book, I’m Tougher than Asthma, shows that it is more than possible to be an ordinary kid with an ordinary life and a chronic disease.

Written by Siri and her father, this book is a testament to being strong in the face of adversity.

"This is Siri’s book," explains Carol S. Carter, Siri’s mother. "Alden helped with the words and Dan shot the pictures, but Siri has been the one to live the story … she wanted to share with some other kids who are tougher than asthma but who may not know it just yet."

I’m Tougher then Asthma contains a helpful FAQ section and a list of asthma resources and books.

All About Asthma
By William Ostrow and Vivian Ostrow

Ages: Second through sixth grade

The most thorough and in-depth of these children’s books, All About Asthma was written by a young boy, William, about his own asthmatic trials and tribulations. Diagnosed with asthma at the age of eight, William’s first asthma attack followed directly on the heels of a serious bout with pneumonia. From then on, it was all downhill. After numerous trips to the emergency room and various doctors, William was finally able to control his asthma through education.

"For me, the key to successfully managing my asthma was learning as much about it as I could," explains William.

But he also admits, his whole ordeal would have been much gentler had he found a friend with asthma. This was his motivation for writing the book.

"When I got stuck with asthma, more than anything else I wanted to talk to another kid who had the same problem I did. I felt sure if I could find such a kid, my asthma would be a lot easier to live with."

Not only will William’s words ease any kid’s isolation, it will help a child to understand asthma on his or her own terms. With helpful chapters including: Stuck with Asthma, What Asthma Is, What Asthma Isn’t, The Asthma Puzzle, Help Yourself, It’s Your Move, Some of the Best People, and The Future, All About Asthma provides kids medical info and treatment options in a language they can understand.

All of the above books are available at bookstores or can be purchased directly from their publisher at 1-800-255-7675.

Naomi Mendelsohn is a content editor at savvyHEALTH.com.

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