Steve Messam describes his city, Belle Glade, as having two main exports:

"Sugar," he said, "and wide receivers."

Local lore has it that National Football League standouts -- including Super Bowl-winning wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Santonio Holmes -- hone their speed by chasing rabbits through burning fields, as controlled fires strip sugarcane of excess leaves in preparation for the harvest.

In early June, Donna Bilgore Robins stood on a patio in Beaver Creek, Colo., under a crystal-clear blue sky and tried to catch her breath.

She couldn’t.

People with asthma may want to limit time outdoors.

Ed Fluker

Per capita, Osceola County has the worst rates in Florida for asthma hospitalizations and the second worst rate for emergency room visits for asthma.

But a free lung clinic is helping residents breathe easy.

Photo by David Breen

Florida Hospital has opened its third free clinic for patients with lung problems.

The Kissimmee clinic is now an option for uninsured patients with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary (COPD) disease and bronchitis. The other clinics are in East Orlando and Apopka.


Nemours Children’s Hospital is starting two of the largest pediatric studies in the country.

Giving babies antibiotics may increase the risk they will develop asthma, according to a study  reported on by Medpage Today. This risk, to children 1 year and younger, also may increase based on how often the drugs are prescribed.

The findings of this study of more than 62,000 children said other factors that could contribute to the development of asthma were not studied, such as smoking within the family and how the baby was delivered, MedPage Today reports.

Elisabeth Rosenthal of The New York Times, who has been chronicling the reasons why health care in America costs at least twice as much as in other developed countries, turns her attention to drugs. Here she looks at how the manufacturers of asthma drugs and inhalers have maneuvered to protect high prices that bring huge profits -- even as the same drugs and devices sell for only a few dollars in Europe.

Dr. Mona Mangat, a St. Petersburg primary-care physician who cares for hundreds of asthma patients, writes in the Tampa Bay Times that some of them may die young, needlessly, because of the political ideology of some lawmakers.

She said she is especially disappointed in House Speaker Will Weatherford, who wants to turn down the federal funds that could provide asthma inhalers and medication that uninsured patients cannot afford.