Tony Hale Says His Asthma Can Be 'Very Scary': 'It Kept Me from Doing a Lot of Things'
"It's changed over time, but when I was a kid it was a lot more frequent," he recalls. "Someone could be mowing the grass next door and I'd have an episode. I could be feeling anxious about something, and then that might trigger it. I could go over to somebody's house, and they could have a cat or a dog that I was allergic to, and that could trigger it."
"If something like an allergen triggered an episode during the day, it made it worse at night," Hale says. "Even being in P.E. could trigger it. You never knew where it was coming from and that's why this inhaler became kind of my lifeline."
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 25 million Americans have asthma and 10 people in the United States die from the disease each day. Last year, Broadway star Laurel Griggs died of an asthma attack at 13 years old.
Eosinophilic asthma, a subtype of the condition, is often severe for patients. An eosinophil is a disease-fighting white blood cell, and an elevated number of eosinophils in the blood can raise future risk and severity of asthma attacks.
Hale recently partnered with the drug company AstraZeneca to promote the company's e-asthma website, where asthma patients can find a location to get a free blood test to determine if they have the subtype. Doing so can help in their treatment plan.
"To be able to have the opportunity to educate others how they can control and take care of their own asthma, especially with the uncertainty that's going on now, it's really exciting to be able to do that," Hale says.
"I thought I knew everything there was to know about asthma because I've had it my whole life, but I learned that it's not this one size fits all disease," he continues.
Hale hopes that by sharing his asthma story, he can bring some comfort to some of the many people out there with the condition.
"It's a much broader picture than what people think of it as. Honestly, I always appreciated when somebody knew somebody that had asthma, where they had an understanding of what it's like," he says. "When you're having an episode it's scary, you feel like your life source is being taken away from you. So when somebody understands, you're just so grateful."
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