Laurel Griggs died on Nov. 5th in New York City after suffering a massive asthma attack, but could her death have been prevented? Tragically, the 13-year-old Broadway star was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital where they tried to save her to no avail. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Dr. Purvi Parikh, allergist with Allergy & Asthma Network, who explained what causes an asthma attack and how to prevent a heartbreaking outcome like that of Laurel.
“Asthma is the inability to get air out due to inflammation and narrowing of the airways for important gas exchange (trading carbon dioxide for oxygen) that the body needs to oxygenate itself,” Dr. Parikh explained. “An asthma attack occurs when something such as a virus, allergen, smoke or irritant triggers the inflammation and airway narrowing, and someone cannot recover.” Death from an asthma attack occurs when there is a lack of “appropriate oxygen”, which leads to “multiple vital organs fail such as the brain and heart,” according to Dr. Parikh, who added, “Most deaths from asthma or asthma attacks come from uncontrolled asthma. Make sure your asthma is always well controlled by having your child on the correct preventative medications.”
Dr. Parikh added, “Seeing an asthma specialist such as pulmonologist or allergist can also help. Signs of uncontrolled asthma can sneak up on you so be sure to know the symptoms of it — waking up at night, using your quick relief inhaler more than twice a week, needing oral or injected steroids 1-2 times per year, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath all of these are signs your asthma is not controlled. Common symptoms include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and chest pain,” Dr. Parikh continued. “If somebody is getting fatigued from not breathing and using your accessory muscles near your neck or dizzy, confused, losing consciousness, blue lips, are all danger signs of a life threatening reaction. If loved ones are experiencing any of these symptoms or not acting like themselves and have changes in mental status these are all very dangerous signs.”
As for why Laurel may have died, Dr. Parikh explained, “If inflammation and airway narrowing of muscles known as bronchoconstriction are very severe, the emergency medications may not work and a patient may even have to be placed on life support machines with a breathing tube. This is why asthma shouldn’t be taken lightly and if you aren’t well controlled or responding to quick relief medications you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.” Dr. Parikh’s best piece of advice for asthma sufferers: “Do not take it lightly! Ten people die on a daily basis from asthma so please seek medical attention immediately.” Laurel’s heartbroken grandfather David Rivlin shared a statement on Facebook when she passed which read: “The world lost a real princess who only wanted to make the future happy for all. Acting was a just a childhood dream come true and she had big plans for the future.”