Asthma Awareness and Safe Kids Day at the Oklahoma City Zoo

On Saturday, May 4 from 9 a.m. to noon, metro families are invited to the OKC Zoo for Asthma Awareness and Safe Kids Day, hosted by Bethany Children’s Health Center and Safe Kids Oklahoma. Admission to the events is free with the purchase of zoo admission.

Asthma Awareness Day

Bethany Children’s Health Center’s Asthma Awareness Day raises asthma awareness among local parents and children. At the event, the center’s respiratory therapy department will provide essential education, valuable resources, hands-on training and information for families to manage asthma effectively. Plus, families will enjoy games, prizes and giveaways.

Asthma is a leading chronic illness among children and youth in the United States, with about 4.5 million children under the age of 18 affected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asthma results in 4.9 million office visits annually and 1.2 million emergency department visits each year.

Adrienne Reid, director of respiratory therapy at Bethany Children’s, emphasizes the importance of asthma education.

“Ongoing education is key to understanding how to effectively manage asthma,” says Reid. “With proper education, individuals can learn to recognize the early signs of worsening asthma and when to take additional measures.”

Pediatrician Molly Khoury, who treats children at Bethany Children’s Pediatric Clinic, often sees early signs of asthma in her patients.

“Generally, when a patient comes in with an asthma flare-up, the parent’s concern is a cough that hasn’t gone away, chest pain or trouble breathing,” said Dr. Khoury. “When I listen to a patient’s chest, there is wheezing, especially when the patient breathes out.”

Dr. Khoury notes that common symptoms of asthma, such as nighttime coughing, chest pain and difficulty keeping up with other children during physical activities, can be easy to dismiss.

Common triggers for asthma include pet dander, dust mites, pollen, exercise and cigarette smoke, with viral illnesses being the most common trigger.

Asthma education is crucial for understanding how to administer medication correctly. Different types of asthma medications work in different ways to treat the condition.

“If a child has had an asthma attack, they should be on a controller inhaler or daily steroid inhaler,” explains Dr. Khoury. “This inhaler is incredibly important and can prevent hospitalizations. The other important treatment is a rescue inhaler, which is used as needed for acute symptoms and can provide quick relief.”

The respiratory therapy team at Asthma Awareness Day will address common misconceptions about asthma medications and provide resources to help manage the condition and prevent emergencies.

Safe Kids Day

Safe Kids Oklahoma, led by Bethany Children’s Health Center, works with coalition partners to protect kids from preventable injuries, which are the number one cause of death for children in the United States and Oklahoma. Oftentimes these tragedies are preventable.

Safe Kids Oklahoma unites injury prevention experts from around the state to implement evidence-based programs for schools, churches, hospitals and other community organizations with the goal of raising awareness about preventable injuries.

“Our staff models safe behavior and shares injury prevention resources so that children of all abilities and backgrounds are exposed to a culture of safety today and a hope for a safer tomorrow,” says Elizabeth Koldoff, director of injury prevention at Safe Kids Oklahoma.

Safe Kids Oklahoma focuses on child passenger safety, bicycle and pedestrian safety, water safety and ATV safety. They serve thousands of children and families across the state and will provide safety materials and resources to Safe Kids Day at the Oklahoma City Zoo. The event will feature fun family activities, safety-oriented learning opportunities, games and prizes.

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