Medical school graduate learns how to ‘fix’ a child’s asthma
When the first-year medical student in Turkey had a serious allergic reaction to a medication, he decided to take it.
The student, who had spent three years studying medicine in Turkey, had never been tested for allergies.
So he was unsure what was causing his condition.
So, he went to a doctor who told him to take a medication called Epinephrine.
“I knew exactly what was going on, so I took it,” the student told DW.
“At the same time, I went into the pharmacy and bought my first prescription for a inhaler.”
That prescription came with instructions for taking it.
“When I saw the instructions, I was like, ‘Oh, this is really helpful.'”
The pharmacist explained to him that Epinephale is a prescription medication that can be used for breathing, coughing and wheezing.
When it’s not used, it can trigger severe allergic reactions.
“That was when I was really surprised and I knew I needed to do something,” the patient said.
“I think it’s important to give the children the opportunity to understand what they need to be aware of and what they can do to avoid it,” Dr. Ahmet Zeybek, a specialist in paediatrics at Istanbul’s Hurriyet University Hospital, told DW’s sister site Hurriyat News.
“This is why we need the children to take this medication,” he added.
The medicine is an asthma medication called epinephrine and it is commonly used for children with severe allergies, but the Turkish government has been slow to distribute the medicine in pharmacies.
There are about 400,000 children living with asthma in Turkey and the medication is used in more than 30 percent of all children.
The drug is not recommended for adults because of its allergic effects.
The Turkish government says Epineaphyl is not approved for adults.
“The first time that I took EpinePHEL, I had an allergic reaction,” said the student.
“It was very painful, but I was very fortunate to have an asthma treatment at the time.”
But it wasn’t long before I was having a lot of breathing problems.
The doctor told me I could take the medicine for another six months.
“But I had to wait six months, I could not take it.”
After the first six months of the medication, the student noticed his asthma worsened.
He said that he began to have severe asthma attacks.
“My asthma worsened and I could no longer breathe,” he told DW, adding that he tried to go to the hospital but was turned away.
“In the hospital, I couldn’t find anyone who could help me.
I didn’t know what to do.
I thought I was dying.”
So, the boy took the medication again in December 2015.
“By then, I’m really happy to be back in my home.
I don’t want to be in the hospital,” he said.
“Even though I have a very severe allergic reaction, I can take it,” he continued.
“And I know that this medication is very effective for me.”
According to the official statistics, Turkish children have a one in seven chance of developing an asthma attack.
The country has been experiencing a spike in asthma attacks since 2015, when a study of asthma rates revealed that a majority of children in Turkey have asthma.
In the past three years, a record number of children have been diagnosed with asthma.
A child’s odds of developing asthma are estimated to be two to three times higher if the child lives with asthma than if he or she lives with a normal background.
In Turkey, the rate of children diagnosed with chronic bronchitis is five times higher than the rate in the United States.
“Epinephrine is a medication that is prescribed for breathing problems, cough and wheeze.
When the medication isn’t used, the asthma attacks can be severe,” Zeyek explained.
“Therefore, the medication should be used with extreme care.”
“The government should introduce an inhaler as a first-aid device, and the children should also have the opportunity for testing the medication to ensure that they are not allergic,” he stressed.
“Epinephlex is a very powerful medication, and it has been shown to be very effective,” he concluded.