Puppets strike a chord, educate about childhood asthma

The Ad Council and the Environmental Protection Agency launched online videos that feature a puppet band called The Breathe Easies. The band shares tips to help parents eliminate their children's asthma triggers. (Photo: Ad Council and U.S. EPA)A new rock band of puppets is drumming up attention to childhood asthma.
The Ad Council and the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday that they will launch a series of public service advertisements about the chronic lung disease. The PSAs feature a puppet band called The Breathe Easies performing songs about asthma triggers. Parry Gripp, lead vocalist and guitarist of the pop punk band Nerf Herder, wrote and recorded the songs.
The campaign aims to reach parents and caregivers of children with asthma from infancy to age 16. It provides simple tips on how to eliminate asthma triggers to prevent asthma attacks. The tips include not smoking in the house, vacuuming the floor and cleaning up mold and mildew.
The PSAs, in English and Spanish, will run as online videos, radio spots and Web banners. The radio and Web PSAs will be distributed to media outlets across the nation. The online videos will live at, which will have more tips, and will be posted on YouTube.
"This campaign is a wonderful and entertaining continuation of our efforts with EPA to reduce the onset of asthma attacks in children," says Peggy Conlon, president of the not-for-profit Ad Council. "We're trying to move parents from managing their children's asthma to actually preventing asthma attacks."
When an asthma attack occurs, the airways of the lungs become inflamed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest and wheezing. Triggers include air pollution, allergens (animal dander, dust mites, mold and pollen) and tobacco smoke.
In 2010, about 18.7 million adults and 7 million children had asthma in the USA, the CDC reports.
"Too many Americans, particularly children, minorities and people living in poverty, suffer from asthma, spending their time at doctor visits and hospitals instead of at school, work and play," says Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation.
The PSAs have simple and positive messages, she says. "We can provide information to families so that they can help their children and themselves have a positive and full life experience even though they have asthma."

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