What's up with Max? Medikidz Explain Asthma ISBN: 97780986861185
Chilman-Blair, Dr Kim and Taddeo, John
Published by Medikidz Publishing, 2009
In this series of comics about health conditions and illnesses, the 'Medikidz' are a team of five superheroes who live in an alternative planet called 'Mediland', a place which is shaped like the human body. The team is made up of Axon, the brain specialist (and his pet robot Abacus, the brain on legs),Chi, the lung specialist, Skinderella, who knows all about skin and bones, Pump, the heart and blood expert, and Gastro, the expert on the digestive system (who is the joker and fart specialist!). The series is aimed precisely at kids, and the information therein is given in language that is easily understood; not only that, but because of the highly-coloured comic format, children will want to read it. The books are clever and funny and put lots of excellent, detailed information into an accessible read. Furthermore, the medical information, written by doctors, is peer reviewed by experts in the field.
In this story, Max has an asthma attack while playing water battles with his friends, and as he hasn't had one before, the Medikidz zoom him up to Mediland for proper explanations of what is happening. Max has heard all about the Medikidz so is only to0 willing to be taken on a tour of the lungs. (He is also a bit of a flirt and tries it on with Skinderella, who isn't having it.) However, Chi, the lung specialist, explains all about the trachea, the main right and left bronchi lined with muscles, the smaller airways, also called bronchi, and the alveoli, the smallest of all. The Medikidz also explain about the irritations that get into the lungs and how the lungs react. We see this visually when a number of 'firemen' appear to get rid of the irritants by spraying mucus over them. (Lots of gross jokes here from Gastro!) We also see the 'Body's Natural Army' (the immune system) come to attack any germs that appear in the lungs. Max learns that in asthma the immune system works overtime and makes more problems than it solves - it overreacts. We see the army coming back time and again to try to overreact and each time the Medikidz fight it off. They explain that the army causes two problems: inflammation and bronchoconstriction (the muscles in the lungs squeezing and constricting the airways). Then we learn about the medicines to help the problem: relievers and preventers. The Medikidz emphasise the importance of taking preventers every day so the medicine can build up and 'stop your natural army from overreacting'. Max is a bit depressed by the idea that he won't be able to run about and play anymore, but the Kidz make it clear that with his medication he should be able to do everything he's always done. Diagnosis and some explanation of peak flow tests follows, and before he's sent back to his friends, he gets the longed-for kiss from Skinderella!
Available from the publisher at www.medikidz.com/shop. The basic web site at www.medikidz.com has lots more health information for children, as well as titles of many more comics in the series in a wide range of health and disability areas. Well worth a look.
Age: 11+