E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork and pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears demonstrate an easy way to determine your child’s asthma level.
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At-Home Asthma Tests for Kids Dr. Jim Sears: With kids with asthma it can be difficult to tell how bad they are specially in kids under age six because younger kid can’t verbalize if they’re having a hard time breathing or not. They’re just having a hard time doing it. Dr. Travis Stork: So this is actually something that parents can use, it’s called the Wheezometer, right? Dr. Jim Sears: The Wheezometer and it essentially -- a doctor can listen for wheezing with the stethoscope and if you’re trained, you can really tell how bad the child is doing. Parent at home doesn’t have that training so this kind of gives the parent a little bit of clue of how bad the wheezing is or isn’t. Dr. Travis Stork: Well we have a brave volunteer in our audience, Alex you have asthma? Alex: Yeah. Dr. Travis Stork: You want to come up here and we’ll show everyone how this works? Alex: Okay. Dr. Travis Stork: Come on up. So we’re going to show everyone at home how this works. You did this before the show right? Alex: Yeah. Dr. Travis Stork: And it’s pretty easy. You rest it underneath at the Adam’s apple and while you’re doing it Alex isn’t suppose to talk. He’s supposed to breathe normally. Dr. Jim Sears: Try to breathe normally for about 30 seconds and it’s going to measure the breaths and it’s going to listen for wheezing and it’s going to tell you a percentage of the respiratory cycle that has the wheezing in it. Dr. Travis Stork: And what number should we worry about Jim? Dr. Jim Sears: Under 5% is normal so that’s when you say okay you’re doing okay. Between 5% and 10% you do want to monitor him probably give him an inhaler treatment. If it’s over 10%, it’s definitely time to call the doctor. Dr. Travis Stork: And after about that amount of time you get a reading and you were actually at 7%. Dr. Jim Sears: That’s kind of that middle row. That’s where you say, “Okay, yeah your asthma is probably kicking in a little bit. It’s not too bad yet but probably time to give a treatment, whatever your treatment is and monitor your asthma plan that you should have in place with your doctor already. Dr. Travis Stork: Well, Alex, thank you for volunteering today. I appreciate it buddy. Alex: Thank you, bye. Dr. Jim Sears: I should note that the Wheezometer right now is just available by prescription only through your doctor but pretty soon, it’s going to be available over the counter. Dr. Travis Stork: And I think another great example of you can never replace your motherly instincts with this device just like a doctor can’t replace their instincts with all the devices we use. Dr. Jim Sears: That is $199.00 so that could be pretty expensive for a lot of people. There’s another thing similar to that that we’ve had around for years called the peak flow meter. It’s not as complex. It’s a pretty simple device that you usually can get from your doctor’s office for free. Dr. Travis Stork: That’s another great tool, very cheap that all parents should look into for their kids who have asthma.