Emergency room doctors are reporting a spike in the number of people they're treating for asthma.
The American College of Emergency Physicians said the prevalence of asthma is at an all-time high, RTV6's Stacia Matthews reported.
"We've had a tremendous upsurge in some of the cases that we see with children having flare-ups with their asthma and more people having symptoms," said Dr. Girish Vitalpur, a specialist in pediatric allergies with Riley Children's Specialists in Carmel.
Fall is typically the most dangerous time of the year for asthmatics, but with this year's mild winter, hot spring and lack of rain to clear the polluted air, emergency rooms are regularly seeing patients struggling to breathe.
Kyle Walsh said he knows firsthand what it feels like to have asthma.
"It feels like you're getting left behind and you're worse than the other kids," he said.
It was on the soccer field that Walsh and his mom, Connie, first realized something was wrong.
"His face is red and he's got his hands over his head and I'm looking at other parents like, what's wrong with him," Connie Walsh said.
Kyle Walsh was later diagnosed with asthma.
Asthma can't be cured, but Vitalpur said it can be managed if patients know their triggers and the right treatment.
"Asthma is a treatable disease and the ER should really be something that is a last resort," he said. "Good, effective control means you can stay out of the emergency room."
Vitalpur said if patients use their rescue inhaler or breathing treatment more than once or twice a week they should see their doctor.
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