Finding the Right Care to Manage Severe Uncontrolled Asthma

October 04, 2017

Julian Rosario, 7, has suffered since he was a newborn baby with chronic illnesses. When Julian was 3-years-old, he was diagnosed with severe, uncontrolled asthma. “Julian showed signs of asthma since birth. He would get seriously sick (bronchitis, pneumonia) about every 6-8 weeks,” says Shelly, Julian’s mom. “My husband and I went to several different specialists and pulmonologists in search for answers on how to help our little boy. At one point, our pediatrician told us, ‘Kids just get sick.’”

Shelly was determined to find answers. Her search led her to Dr. Cynthia Lerner from Lurie Children’s Division of Allergy and Immunology and Dr. Rajinder Arora, Pulmonary Medicine.

“When we first met with Dr. Lerner, I knew she would help Julian. Not only did she care for Julian but she listened to me,” says Shelly. Through a series of tests, Dr. Lerner discovered that Julian not only has severe asthma but underlying immune system issues that actually were working against the asthma medicine originally prescribed to him. “We learned that Julian is one of a small percentage of asthma sufferers that being on corticosteroids makes his condition worse.”

Dr. Lerner placed Julian on a different asthma treatment, cromolyn sodium (inhalation) that involves three breathing treatments daily. The medication helps to prevent Julian’s symptoms before they start and it’s been working. “In the past, we would have to frequently rush Julian to urgent care or an emergency room or even call 911 when he couldn’t breathe,” says Shelly. “I can’t remember the last time we went to the ER.”

Since seeing Dr. Lerner, Julian’s asthma is more controlled and last summer completed a 5K with his mom in support of lung health. “Julian has always been a very energetic little boy. He’s always wanted to run, play and keep up with his friends but couldn’t because of his asthma,” says Shelly. “Now for the first time, Julian is able to just have fun with his friends and for that I’m eternally grateful to Dr. Lerner.”

Allergy & Immunology

The Division of Allergy and Immunology at Lurie Children’s treats more children for allergies and asthma than any other hospital in Illinois. Several of our allergist/immunologists are leaders in their field, having worked with national organizations to improve the understanding and care of pediatric asthma, allergies and immune deficiencies.

Dr. Lerner see patients at our Outpatient Center in New Lenox.


Pediatric Asthma 

Lurie Children’s treats more children for asthma than any other area hospital or medical center. Our asthma program brings together pulmonary and allergy experts to collaborate on treatment and provide world-class care for children and adolescents. Our goal is to work with families to help minimize the effect of asthma on children by creating treatment plans to prevent symptoms and effectively respond to symptoms when they occur.

Asthma is the most common chronic illness in children. Asthma is one of the main reasons for school absences and the most frequent cause for hospitalization. However, good understanding of the causes and treatment of asthma can help to reduce the effect of asthma on children and their families.


Pulmonary Medicine

Lurie Children’s Division of Pulmonary Medicine treats more children for lung and breathing-related (respiratory) diseases than any other hospital in Illinois. We are ranked 20th in the nation by U.S.News & World Report for pediatric pulmonary care, including asthma care.