By Nora Bennett, C-NP

I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!

“It may be comical when the Donkey from Shrek says in at the end of a hip-hop tune in Disney’s Shrek, but when a 10 year old boy or a 53 year old woman comes into my clinic struggling for air, with the whites of their eyes pleading me to “HELP NOW!”….. It is not funny. It’s frightening,” says Nora Bennett, NP with Vibrant Health Family Clinics.

Asthma has many faces, many presentations. For some, it is just a bother. James may get a poor night’s rest because he is awake coughing. For others, it makes them feel inadequate. Jenny can’t keep up in gym class or Linda’s weight loss plan is failing because she can’t muster the energy for more than 5 minutes on the treadmill.  And for a select few, it may take their life.

Asthma is a common medical condition that affects approximately 26 million Americans, both children and adults. According to WebMD, asthma is characterized by inflammation of the bronchial tubes with increased production of sticky secretions inside those tubes. People with asthma may experience night cough, wheezing or shortness of breath.

Although asthma flare ups are miserable and frustrating — and potentially dangerous — the good news is that most asthma can be well-controlled by collaborating with your Health Care Provider and focusing on a few simple specifics. Here are three tips to help you manage your asthma.

  1. C.T. — The Asthma Control Test helps you and your provider measure your asthma control.  Your Healthcare Provider will ask you to complete this simple test during your visit.  If the test shows you are not in excellent control, your provider will help make adjustments to your asthma care.
  1. Prevent Asthma Flare Ups — There are often triggers that worsen asthma symptoms — like dust, mold, pollen or illness.  Learn what your triggers are and avoid them.  One dangerous trigger for asthma is often INFLUENZA.  ‘Flu’ is a serious respiratory illness that affects the lungs.  Those with asthma are more vulnerable to having complications from influenza.  In fact, a new CDC study published in Pediatrics is the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination significantly reduced a child’s risk of dying from influenza. The study, found that flu vaccination reduced the risk of flu-associated death by half (51 percent) among children with underlying high-risk medical conditions (like asthma!) and by nearly two-thirds (65 percent) among healthy children. The study findings underscore the importance of the recommendation by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics that all children 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccine.  Read more about this study here: (
  1. Follow your Asthma Action Plan —Taking care of your asthma is important, but sometimes it seems complicated. So many inhalers, so many medications!! Your personalized Asthma Action Plan is a written plan of attack that helps you know what medications to use and when to use them.  Even if you are having an Asthma Flare!  Your Healthcare Provider will create this plan with you at your visit.

So don’t be like Donkey, struggling to catch your breath after a quick dance with the Gingerbread Man.  Schedule an appointment today with your Vibrant Health Provider and take charge of your asthma!

To learn more, visit or to make an appointment, call 715-425-6701.