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Moundview provides free asthma screenings

3:10 PM, May 29, 2014  |  Comments
Alayna, a fifth grader at Adams-Friendship Elementary School blows into a spirometer while Luke Premo, respiratory therapist at Moundview Memorial Hospital & Clinics, looks at the measurements of her lung function on the computer.
Alayna, a fifth grader at Adams-Friendship Elementary School blows into a spirometer while Luke Premo, respiratory therapist at Moundview Memorial Hospital & Clinics, looks at the measurements of her lung function on the computer.
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Dr. Jason M. Bellak, allergist and immunologist, and several Moundview Memorial Hospital & Clinics staff members recently donated their time to screen fifth-grade students in the Adams-FriendshipSchool District for asthma. Moundview was assisted by the school nurse, Karla Melke, Gary Geradi of Teva Pharmaceuticals, parent volunteers and school staff members. The free screenings were sponsored by Moundview and the AmericanCollege of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

At the screenings, the students completed a health questionnaire, blew into a tube called a spirometer and met with Bellak who assessed their risk for asthma and allergies. A form was sent home with each student to inform parents of the screening results. If the screening suggested the child might have asthma or allergies, the parent received a note recommending a visit with an asthma and allergy specialist.

"Asthma is a chronic disease that can make breathing difficult," Bellak said. "It can be severe and is often undiagnosed if an individual's symptoms appear only when they get a cold or exercise (exercise induced asthma). We offer free screenings to fifth-graders before they start middle school and begin any new activities such as sports and music. These screenings not only help diagnose asthma, they can determine how well a child with asthma is doing on their current treatment plan."

Asthma is one of the most common lifelong chronic diseases. It affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Its symptoms include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Allergies and asthma often occur together.

"Asthma can't be cured," said Bellak. "But, children and adults with asthma can have a normal life if they receive proper treatment and learn how to control it."

Bellak provides allergy and immunology services at Moundview. For more information, call 608-339-8494 or ask your provider for a referral.

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