David Wells has had asthma for most of his life. He grew up in Bakersfield and was diagnosed as a young child. Growing up, he struggled with balancing breathing issues with activities and school. He says his teachers viewed his condition as insignificant because it wasn't contagious. He missed between 25 and 30 days of school a year when he wasn't able to contain his breathing.
Now, he has a family of his own. One of his four children was also diagnosed with asthma at a young age, and is now dealing with the same struggles he did as a child.
Colin Wells is active, he enjoys sports like baseball and football, so having asthma can be a setback.
"One time I was playing flag football with my friends at school and I got the ball and I don't usually catch footballs a lot. Then I was running and right before I got there, I had to stop and breathe and I got my flag pulled," the younger Wells says.
He even has to sit out of his baseball games sometimes when his asthma is acting up. He says he feels like he is letting his team down when this happens.
Asthma levels on average are higher in Kern County than California's average for all three age brackets. Pulmonary doctor Amy Mehta says she advises her patients to avoid the allergens that increase their asthma. She also says in extreme cases, it helps to move out of Bakersfield to get away from the bad air quality.