There are many kids living in the tri-county area who suffer from chronic health conditions. In fact, the number of those here diagnosed with asthma or diabetes is greater than the regional and state averages.
"There is so much fear and there is so much separation and isolation of these kids because of their disease that they don't always have a successful experience in school," said Youngstown State University professor Dr. Zara Rowlands.
Dr. Rowlands believes educating school employees, fellow students and community members is the key to solving this problem. By creating a support system, kids can better manage their diseases, especially in cases of emergency, like a child having an asthma attack.
"I think one of the most important things is to be prepared. I think there are so many people out there with asthma that a lot of people take it lightly and they don't realize or they don't appreciate the possibility of it becoming very dangerous," said Marilyn Walton with Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley.
Symptoms are usually easy to pick up on. Kids often begin to sweat. Sometimes they have an anxious look on their face and many struggle to breathe or begin to breathe rapidly. It is important to have asthma medication on hand at the school, just as it is important to have fast acting carbs, like sugary candy, or Glucagon available to students with diabetes.
"It is overwhelming for the children to have diabetes. So, anything that we can do to educate and support them so that they feel comfortable in the school system definitely needs to be done," said Dianne Weisner with Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley.