Wellapets video game helps teach kids how to manage asthma

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

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 throat, and when it really bothers me, I start to wheeze," she said.

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

A lovable fire-breathing dragon becomes the child's pet. The only way to help him blow fire is to properly manage his asthma.

"I learned about that, like, cockroaches and smoke are not good," said Allison.

As a mother and pediatrician, this is one video game Allison's mom 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; 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," Wellapets co-founder and CEO Alexander Ryu explained.

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

This virtual pet program is a free app and can be downloaded at Google Play and the App Store.

LifeGuard Games, the developer of Wellapets, say they plan to roll out a host of games to help manage food allergies, diabetes and other health issues.

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