Follow Up: Construction dust makes West Allis boy sick, Partners for Asthma Action reaching out to public

Follow Up: Construction dust makes West Allis boy sick, Partners for Asthma Action reaching out to public


CBS 58 News

CBS 58's Michele McCormack has been following the Miller family story for months. The WISDOT declined to participate in her report.

Gabriel with his brother and sister

Gabriel's symptoms are less severe but he still has to wear a mask to go outside and limits time outdoors.

The Millers with Partners for Asthma Action's Sarah Brundidge

Partners for Asthma Action helps families get rid of triggers both inside and outside the home.

Zoo interchange construction near Miller home

Partners for Asthma Action lobbied the DOT to wet down construction dust more than usual.

A local family opened up recently to CBS 58 News about being prisoners in their own home because of construction dust from the Zoo Interchange project.

Their little son Gabriel, 5, would get so sick he would collapse and be unable to breathe.

"He would be sick for a month," recalled his mom, Tiffani Miller. "He'd be sick for six weeks. He'd spend more time at home than at school."

Children's Hospital became the family's second home, but they finally got the diagnosis of severe asthma which enabled them to enlist the help of the American Lung Association.

Respiratory Care Practitioner Sarah Brundidge from Partners for Asthma action came in and helped the family get rid of any triggers, like carpeting which can hold dust mites, and install air purifiers and such.

She also lobbied the Department of Transportation to wet down the construction dust more than usual around the Miller home in West Allis.

Things have gotten better for Gabriel.

But,  he still doesn't go outside much.

When he does he wears a mask to not only keep irritants out but protect himself from procedures he's endured to rid his lungs of irritants and particles.

Milwaukee has the highest rates of asthma in the state of Wisconsin.

That's not surprising, considering it is an urban area.

What is surprising is the number of people who are accepting their symptoms and just living with it. Thinking medicine or an inhaler is enough.

Exposures to triggers have a much more significant role in breathing problems than many may realize.

"Dust particles can be an irritant for anybody," Brundidge tells CBS 58 News. "Much more so for people with pulmonary diseases like asthma. The guidelines for treatment say medication is only a small part of the management but that always gets the focus."

Partners for Asthma Action is trying to bring renewed focus to a plan that was devised to address the high rates of breathing problems.

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