(WNDU) - Asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalization among young kids.
The condition causes the airways to constrict, and can be life-threatening. If a child with asthma also has allergies, it can be even worse.
Tayonni “Onni” Westbrooks loves to be head over heels.
“I’m able to do cartwheels, splits, and back bends,” Onni said.
Onni is finally able to get the air she needs. From the time Onni was one month old, she had trouble breathing.
“It was terrifying. I thought my baby was gonna die,” said Onni’s mother LaToya Westbrooks.
Onni had severe asthma. LaToya took her to countless doctors and tried every medication available.
“As she got older, they were trying different injections, different medications. She was on five inhalers,” LaToya explained.
Onni was also allergic to dust, grass, pollen, dander, and pets.
“You name it, she was allergic to it,” LaToya continued.
The combination of asthma and allergies would trigger life-threatening reactions. Onni used to be hospitalized almost once a month.
Last year, the Westbrooks were referred to PAPA, the pulmonary and allergy personalized asthma clinic. Pediatric pulmonoligists and allergists worked together to wean Onni off a high volume of steroids.
“We came up with a strategy where we were using a combination inhaler that we used several times a day initially to get her under control,” said Jeffrey Ewig, a doctor at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“When we did our most recent virtual visit with her, she was actually on a bouncy ball hopping up and down all throughout the visit,” said Priya Patel, an allergist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Onni’s doctors also teach behavioral changes, steps she can take first before grabbing her inhaler.
“I take deep breaths. I do that a couple of times and, and it helps,” Onni said.
“She can be a child, you know, and, and live a normal life,” LaToya finished.
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