Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Hollywood Could Be An Asthma Advocate

I want to be a health expert for Hollywood. I will volunteer my services for $1 million per tip. In other words, I get $1 million every time something health-related is portrayed inaccurately. And I can start with Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. And in this way, I will help people like us get the word out about asthma and allergies.

Disney could become an asthma/allergy advocate

I wrote an article like this before. It was titled, “Are Asthmatics Nerds. I got the idea from Nickelodeon’s show iCarly. On that show, there’s a kid who always has a runny nose. The main kid characters make fun of the kid with allergies. They treat him like he’s a nerd. And it frustrates me because kids with allergies are not always nerds. It’s a stigma that is inaccurate.

So, my job will be to catch such health-related flaws. The editors can fix them before filming begins. Or, they can fix them before the show is released. In this way, Hollywood (in this case Disney) would be an advocate for various communities like ours. They can be advocates for real health-related change. Just think of how powerful this would be. Imagine kids getting an accurate image of allergies and asthma.

At present, all they seek is laughs.

So, I’m watching “Sydney To The Max”. Ever hear of that program? Well, chances are, if you have kids, you’ve watched it. Or, at least you’ve seen glimpses of it. Because it’s one of the shows on the popular Disney Channel. And it’s a nice show. Don’t get me wrong. Still, it could be an even better show if it were medically accurate.

How many kids watch the Disney channel? I bet it’s a lot. And they have such an opportunity to impact kids. They have such an opportunity to advocate. They take advantage of this when pushing their political agendas. I mean, they’ve run ads advocating for change. But, they rarely say what they want to change.

It’s kind of like saying you want to make a difference. Well, I certainly want to make a difference. Most people want to make a difference. Most of us want to make a difference by changing the world for the better. But, then you also have people like Hitler too. Hitler wanted to make a difference. He wanted to change the world. But, yeah! It wouldn’t have been for the better.

But I digress. My point here is that the Disney Channel has an opportunity here. They certainly can make a positive difference in the minds of children regarding lots of things — and that includes asthma and allergies. They can, if they wanted to, be good advocates for allergies and asthma. They can help us get the word out.

And it would start by hiring me to be the asthma expert consultant.

It would start by hiring any asthma/ allergy advocate. It would start by advocating the truth about allergies and asthma rather than just going with stigmas about it.

So, anyway, I’m watching “Sydney to the Max”. Sydney sneaks a dog into the house. She starts sneezing. She realizes she’s allergic to the dog. She tries to hide this fact from her dad. She does this so her dad doesn’t get rid of the dog. And then her dad (Max) goes on a hunt for why her daughter is sneezing.

It’s kind of funny.  My 8-year-old is laughing his head off.  Okay. I get that their objective is to make kids laugh and make money doing it. I get that.

Sydney’s dad (Max) hires men to search for the allergen.

One of the men says something like, “I can’t find it. The only place left to look is inside the walls.”

Max says, “Well, bash the walls in until you find something.”

This is when Sydney comes in. She says, “Stop!”  Then she trounces the dog in and confesses. “I’m allergic to the dog,” she says.

She and her dad have a discussion about this. It’s a good lesson learned. She agrees to get rid of the dog. In the closing scene (and this is what I find inaccurate) she puts on a mask. She gets close to the dog. She pets the dog. Then she backs away and takes off the mask. She’s fine. She doesn’t sneeze.

This misses the entire point.

Disney could have shown allergies accurately. Dogs have dander. The dander is invisible. It gets on the carpet. It gets into the air and is airborne. It’s microscopic. It’s unseen by the naked eye. And so, even though she takes the mask off, she will still be inhaling this dander. She would still be sneezing even though she’s not close to the dog.

Most people probably wouldn’t notice the inaccuracy. The writers of the show obviously have no clue what they’re even writing about. They just want to be funny. But wouldn’t it be neat if they took the opportunity to be accurate? Imagine the power of The Disney Channel giving kids an accurate image of allergies or asthma.

I understand. The writers don’t have it. The actors don’t have it. So, they don’t know what it’s like So, that’s why they should hire me. They should pay me. I can help them be asthma and allergy accurate.

What to make of this?

So, I don’t expect Disney to hire me (although it would be nice). I don’t expect them to hire any other asthma/ allergy expert either. Still, if they could portray our disease accurately I would be very impressed.  That would be powerful. It would go a long way to helping us get the word out. It would be powerful for helping us in our quest as asthma advocates.

I could go on about medical mistakes. Lots of medical errors in movies. I wonder if lawyers criticize law movies? I bet they do. So, what do you think? Do you think Hollywood could do a better job portraying asthmatics? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • sue1941
    4 months ago

    John, I hope you’ve sent this piece to corporate Disney and Nickelodeon. I think it’s brilliant and may be something they just haven’t thought of and could or would do to become more helpful. Thanks!

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    4 months ago

    Hi. sue1941. I have not sent it to anyone other than asthma.net. I am serious with my offer and am honored that you think it is brilliant. Thanks so much. John Author/ Site Moderator.

  • Poll