Albury Wodonga Health is participating in a ground-breaking trial aimed at tackling acute and recurrent wheezing illness in Aussie kids.

The AWH Paediatric team has teamed up with medical researchers CIRCAN to examine the treatment of wheeze and respiratory illness in children aged 1-6 years old. Wheeze remains the most common reason preschool aged children are admitted to hospital in Australia.

But that could be about to change with the new treatment OM-85 showing promising signs it can reduce the risk of wheeze-related hospital admissions.

Dr Mark Norden is leading the clinical trial at Albury Wodonga Health and says early results are promising.

"We're seeing some really promising signs and some great results in local children who have been struggling with wheeze," he said. "Five local families were referred to the trial after being admitted to the children’s ward.

"Pre-school wheeze happens when the muscles in the airway walls tighten or there is a build-up of inflammation and mucous in the airways. It narrows the airways making breathing difficult. It's a common condition but, unlike asthma, preventative treatments have been largely ineffective.

"The aim of this trial is to find ways we can keep kids out of hospital and effectively manage this very common but life-restricting condition. We're seeing some very positive signs so far that we hope will pave the way for an effective treatment for children around Australia."

Lyndell Schindler and her daughter Madelyn were frequent visitors to Albury's Emergency Department on account of Madelyn's wheezing, but since joining the OM-85 trial Madelyn's breathing and quality of life have improved drastically.

“Madelyn tends to have an episode where she just gets very lethargic, her oxygen levels drop really low, and she really struggles to breathe.”

“I have to start giving her Ventolin, and then nine times out of ten, I bring her up to the Albury Emergency Department for more comprehensive treatment.

“As we progressed further into winter, we were attending the Emergency department every four weeks. 

“Since starting the trial three months ago, and especially in the last month, we haven’t had to come to hospital at all – which is fantastic for Madelyn”

While there are five local families participating in the trial, more are needed. Parents of children with wheeze can express their interest in participating by contacting Albury Wodonga Health or the CIRCAN website directly.

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