author of Feeding Eden

A Dolphin with a Soft Spot: Asthma

As a first, my family went to Atlantis this year for Spring Break. Several fellow food allergy parents had told me that it was particularly equipped for handling food allergies. So if anyone reading this post want to know more about Atlantis please email me at [email protected] - I'm happy to answer questions.

Aside from the eating part of vacation, Atlantis offers a variety of kid-friendly activities, including "interacting with dolphins." Thrilling. We were in.

On our third day of our stay, after donning wetsuits, all of entered a large salt water lake, and met Noah the dolphin. Noah apparently loves people and praise (as do most well-trained dolphins) and was more than willing to provide "high-fives," kisses and tricks. He stayed close to our small group, close enough so that while our instructor was talking, I could hear him breathing through his blowhole. I'd never hung out with a dolphin before Noah. So I assumed his somewhat labored breathing was part in parcel of being a mammal that must breath oxygen through a blowhole full of water. Nope. Our instructor informed us that Noah had asthma.

Eden's eyes went wider when our instructor elaborated: Noah needed to take medication through a nebulizer twice a day. "He likes it when we give him his medicine through his blowhole. Makes him feel better." What a terrific mind tickling fact for young boy with asthma to hear! Especially a young boy who had been using his inhalers for a few days into the trip due to changes in environment.

And while my good friend Henry Ehrlich over at Asthma Allergies Children later commented: "In the wild, asthmatic dolphins have been winnowed by predators that could catch up with them, whereas in captivity they are pampered," Nevertheless I believe Noah nicely illustrates the Om-like vibe of Connectedness we share in our food allergy community.

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