By Victor O'Brien

Killeen Daily Herald

Eltra Youngblood has been a teacher for 38 years, but she still has things to learn about health and lessons to teach her students.

Saturday, the Killeen Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. conducted its annual health symposium at the Killeen Community Center to inform the public about allergies and asthma, scoliosis, sickle cell anemia, heart disease and HIV/AIDS.

Youngblood, a science teacher and a volleyball coach, has a specific interest in health issues because of the subject she teaches.

During a presentation on allergies and asthma, Youngblood remembered a volleyball player many years ago who had asthma. Youngblood was curious about how asthma affects their ability to play.

One of four speakers, Kim Mathis, a family nurse practitioner at Family Medicine Clinic in Harker Heights, recommends children with asthma play sports because it can increase lung capacity, but always make sure they have their inhalers with them. The advice confirmed what Youngblood thought.

Youngblood's other concern was how some students just don't understand that just because colognes and lotions smell good doesn't mean they are good for the people around them.

Sometimes colognes and perfumes can aggravate allergies other students have.

Mathis said the best way to reach students is just to keep reminding them to consider others.

For Alice Douse, Delta Sigma Theta committee member, the topic of scoliosis was an important one. Her daughter was diagnosed with it in the mid-1960s by a school nurse at Nolan Middle School. Her daughter went through several body casts and surgeries to straighten the curve in her spine to keep it from causing a serious breathing blockage in her lungs.

Even though treatments are less invasive and much improved since the 1970s, Douse said it's still important scoliosis gets detected early, and the only way to do that is for parents to know how to check their daughters' spines, as the disease primarily affects females.

Delta Sigma Theta is a community service-oriented sorority of college-educated women that provides tutoring, holiday assistance and social events benefitting women.

"These are topics that are happening to a lot of people and lots of times are not aware of it," said Rosa Hereford, co-chairwoman for the symposium.

Contact Victor O'Brien at or (254) 501-7468.

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