Health Beat: Virtual pet game for asthma

Health Beat: Virtual pet game for asthma

Nine-year-old Allison Wu is an avid gymnast, but sometimes her asthma can make her body feel off balance.

"Normally, I start to cough a lot, and sometimes it bothers my that, and when it, like, really bothers me, I start to wheeze," Wu said.

A new video game, called Wellapets, uses virtual pets to help kids with asthma understand and manage it.

"I am going to give my pet, um, the inhaler," Wu said. "A lovable fire-breathing dragon becomes the child's pet. The only way to help him blow fire is to properly manage his asthma."

This is one video game Wu's mom, a pediatrician, wants her to play.

"She's learning how to take ownership of her own illness and not needing me for everything," said Ann Wu.

The game also teaches children about asthma triggers, like smog, and reminds children how and when to use their medication properly.

"Taking your inhaler with the right technique," said Alexander Ryu, Wellapets co-founder/CEO. "Taking your controller inhaler at the right time, learning how to avoid triggers and learning how to recognize your own asthma symptoms and take action for those."

Even those who don't have asthma are enjoying the game and better understand what their siblings and friends go through.

It's a free app and can be downloaded at Google Play and the Apple store. The developer soon plans to roll out other games to help kids with things like food allergies and diabetes.

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