Over 50 years ago my stay at home mom took my brother, sister, and myself to the grocery store. We lived in a town of 450 people and it hasn’t grown since. Back then it was okay for mom to leave us alone in the car and expect us to have behaved while she was inside. Dad was at work which didn’t matter because mom wouldn’t rat on us for misbehaving because she would take care of the problem on the spot. One day the scene was as described and with me being the oldest and my sister next we were laughing pretty hard at the antics of our little brother who was about two years old. We thought he was putting on a pretty good show. As it turned out he was having convulsions from an asthma attack. It scared the water out of mom when she came out and discovered what we were laughing so hard about. Her fear apparently made an impression on me too since I haven’t forgotten it.
Today, there are no known cures for asthma, a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways that causes recurring outbreaks of wheezing, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath and coughing. Generally the coughing most often occurs during the night or early in the morning because of inflamed swollen and sensitive airways. Swollen or narrow airways may make more mucus that further narrows the breathing airways. They tend to react strongly to certain inhaled substances.
Some symptoms of asthma are mild enough they go away on their own or with minimal treatment. I already described the attacks that are not pretty and can be fatal if not treated. As mentioned asthma has no known cure. The person with the disease can feel fine but they still have it and asthma can flare up at any time. There are treatments that allow people to manage their disease so a more normal, active life and getting a good night’s sleep is possible.
The statistics show that asthma can affect people of all ages, but mostly starts during childhood. More than 22 million people in the U.S. are known to have asthma with almost 6 million being children with boys having the disease more than girls.