Asthma affects DHS athletes

Sophomore Hallie Lassiter uses her sports inhaler before cross-country practice.
Sophomore Hallie Lassiter uses her sports inhaler before cross-country practice.
By Meghan Bobrowsky, Staff–

Asthma affects athletes everywhere, including at Davis High School. Recently, there has been a spike in its interference with students’ sports.

“Last year, 146 students at DHS alone reported having either sports-induced asthma, allergy related asthma or nighttime asthma,” school nurse Rhona Youtsey said.

Some students even develop two different types of asthma, leaving them more vulnerable to asthma attacks and respiratory problems. The majority of these athletes, however, experience no trouble participating in sports as long as they use their inhaler on a daily basis.

Although sophomore Mary Camille has never experienced an asthma attack while running, her sports-induced asthma has still impacted her.

“It definitely still affects my running,” Lovely said.

Some athletes are not as lucky as her.

“I had my first asthma attack when I was four,” varsity football player sophomore Ishmael Perez said. “I remember gasping for air and only getting small amounts,” Lovely said.

Students who have not lived under the conditions of asthma their whole life tend to underestimate its consequences if not treated properly.

“I avoided the fact that I had asthma for a long time because I hated the feeling of having something wrong with me,” senior Elisa McIsaac said.

She deals with severe sports-induced asthma and a different type of less severe asthma that runs in her family.

“I developed sport induced asthma in seventh grade and it got progressively worse,” sophomore Lauren Wienker said.

Wienker experienced an asthma attack on Oct. 8 at Granite Regional Park during a cross-country meet.

Wienker described the attack as “a vacuum that is sucking the air out of your lungs.” Asthma attacks have also been compared to attempting to get air through a straw that someone is squeezing.

Asthma that is developed genetically tends to leave the person prone to attracting another type of asthma along with it. This might lead the person to take multiple inhalers and/or use them more frequently.

“In the spring, my allergies get bad and I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night wheezing,” senior  Zoe Juanitas said.

Juanitas uses two different inhalers, one for morning and one for night. These are meant to help build up immunity and open airways.

There are a variety of inhalers that provide different effects based on the dosage. Juanitas has an additional emergency inhaler which she uses in cases of sudden breathing difficulties.

Wienker also has multiple inhalers. She takes one dose of a steroid called Qvar each morning and night and two doses of Albuterol before she runs.

Using a prescribed inhaler on a daily basis has proved extremely beneficial for McIsaac, who runs track.

“The Albuterol from my inhaler kicks in after 30 minutes, leaving my lungs less constricted during workouts,” McIsaac said.

However, the cure comes with a price. It is unlikely, but some users have experienced side effects of inhaler use.

“The inhaler can make you really shaky if you accidentally take too much,” Lovely said.

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