BYH Charlotte City Council for taking a stand against Trump's racist rhetoric. Maybe Greenville will condemn his...

Highlighting your health: Helping a child breathe easier


Theresa Blount, who coordinates Vidant’s Pediatric Asthma Program, demonstrates how a rescue inhaler and spacer deliver medication into the lungs.


Vidant Health Communications

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Asthma is a common condition among children, especially in Pitt County. Here, 15 percent of school students are diagnosed with asthma, a higher rate than the state average.

Asthma can be a vexing condition for children. It’s caused by swelling of the airways that can lead to coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. A rescue inhaler provides quick relief when an asthma episode occurs.

Far too often, students with asthma miss days of school and don’t feel well enough to take part in school activities. Occasionally, some require 911 trips to the hospital. For this reason, Vidant Health’s Pediatric Asthma Program gives students, parents and school personnel a deeper understanding of how to live well — and breathe better — with asthma.

A key factor is being prepared, said Theresa Blount, a nurse who is coordinator of the program. The first step is to have the child’s primary care provider complete an asthma action plan and a medication authorization form. These are required by Pitt County Schools as well as most other school districts, and allow school personnel to give asthma medication when needed. They also allow students to use their personal inhaler and spacer, which work together to deliver puffs of medication into the lungs in just the right dose.

“It’s very important to have their forms and medication at school at all times,” Blount said. “It’s the best way to prevent a child from being in distress for an extended length of time.” It keeps parents from being called to bring the inhaler to school. In worst-case scenarios, it can prevent a rescue squad trip to the emergency department.

However, last fall only about 32 percent of elementary school students in Pitt County who have asthma had their forms, inhaler and spacer on file at their school, Blount said. To address this problem, she and her team collaborated with the school health program to conduct “asthma blitz days” in the schools. Their efforts increased the number of elementary students fully prepared with their forms, inhaler and spacer on file to 46 percent. Other school systems are following their lead, she said.

Inhalers and spacers are expensive for some families, especially those who don’t have insurance, Blount said. Children’s Miracle Network grant funds, administered through the Vidant Health Foundation, help cover the cost for some.

Unfortunately, some parents use their child’s inhaler because they can’t afford their own. Some children share inhalers with their siblings. A typical inhaler has 200 puffs, which may not be enough to share with others.

Like many other conditions that afflict children, asthma is affected by social determinants of health — the circumstances that exist where they live, learn and play. The Pediatric Asthma team visits homes — if invited — to assess the conditions that may aggravate asthma, such as cigarette smoke, strong odors, mold and kerosene heaters. They advise the parents of ways these triggers can make asthma worse and what they can do about them.

The team’s efforts have been strengthened by partnerships with The Brody School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health and with Legal Aid of North Carolina. In addition, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC Foundation has provided grant funding. This Medical Legal Partnership is the first east of I-95.

Together these three organizations are working to help children with asthma identify and avoid triggers that make their symptoms worse. They are able to help families with housing issues from hurricane damage, food insecurities, benefit eligibility and other detriments to health. The goal is to ensure that all children with asthma can breathe easier – and so can their parents.

To learn more about pediatric asthma, call 252-847-6835 or email tpblount@vidanthealth.com


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


July 21, 2019

Overlook Mountain may have had grandiose visions of overlooking history’s landmark music festival. Always an art and music colony, still an art and music colony, Woodstock, New York, has always dabbled in grandeur, nurturing Hudson River artists and Bob Dylan musicians and even Chevy Chase…

joy moses-Hall.jpg.jpg

July 21, 2019

Parker’s Barbecue in Greenville opened in March 1970. During the nearly 50 intervening years, locals and visitors alike have become aware that the restaurant’s owners are people of Christian faith who worked all their basic religious principles into the business.

But it has only been in…

Bob Garner.jpg

July 21, 2019

There are four seasons of the year in Pitt County: December, January, February, and the season of mowing grass.

For nine months of each year, I am a full-time employee of the yard. And I should join a union, because there is plenty of conflict between management and labor. The yard always manages…


July 19, 2019

Q Help me understand the recent news about diet soda and stroke risk. CK, Greenville

A I got lots of questions about the news headlines that screamed “drinking two or more diet beverages a day linked to high risk of stroke, heart attacks!” There often is a difference between the…

Kolasa, Kathy

July 17, 2019

For the last five months Winterville has been home to a new restaurant that has been gaining a steady and devoted foodie fan base.

Main and Mill Oyster Bar and Tavern has taken over the old Wimpies building at 204 W. Main St. The same layout has been retained with welcoming, warm, and wide open…

Raw Oysters (1).jpg

July 17, 2019

Q Help me understand the recent news about diet soda and stroke risk. CK, Greenville

A I got lots of questions about the news headlines that screamed “drinking two or more diet beverages a day linked to high risk of stroke, heart attacks!” There often is a difference between the…

Kolasa, Kathy

July 17, 2019

Whether you plan on hiking, visiting the beach or partaking in any other outdoor activity this summer, knowing what to do and being prepared in case of an emergency can help save a life.

Approximately 40 percent of trauma-related deaths worldwide can be attributed to bleeding or its consequences.…


July 14, 2019

When I was in college, I had a friend who bragged he could remember every meal he ever ate.

Rob used to regale us with tales of meals past, from the first time he ever tried a club sandwich (“Double the sandwich goodness! Sheer genius!) to his unfortunate encounters with his grandma’s…


July 14, 2019

I recently passed an important milestone on the fascinating journey of growing older: being told it was time for cataract surgery.

For 35 years, I’ve worn progressive, no-line bifocals with transition lenses that darken and lighten automatically. One pair of glasses for both reading and…

Bob Garner.jpg

July 10, 2019

Cd’s Grill has celebrated its one-year anniversary and updated its menu and hours just in time for summer. If you’re seeking comfort food in all its forms with a welcoming atmosphere, then Cd’s should be your next food stop.

The restaurant is located at 111 W. Fire Tower Road,…

171 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 18
        Next Page»   Last Page»