Breathing can be difficult for the 6.1 million children living with asthma in the U.S. While there is no cure for asthma, according to the American Lung Association, this chronic lung disease can be managed and treated allowing for children to lead active, healthy lives.
“Asthma is a serious lung disease, but with proper treatment and an action plan, it can be managed, getting children back into the classroom and out on the playground,” said Traci Gonzales, pediatric nurse practitioner and American Lung Association volunteer spokesperson.
As families prepare for kids to head back to school, the American Lung Association, in partnership with Philips, encourages parents to include asthma management in the back-to-school checklist, offering the following tips:
• Use your child’s yearly check-up or school physicals to create or revise an asthma action plan. This is an excellent time to assess asthma control, adjust medicines as necessary and get prescriptions for back-up medications. The beginning of the school year is also an important time to ensure the school nurse, coaches, after-school program staff and others helping with the child’s care know how to avoid asthma triggers and what to do in case of an emergency.
• Proper use of effective medicines can relieve asthma symptoms and cut the risk of asthma episodes. Parents should ensure their children know how to use their asthma medication correctly. Students are encouraged to demonstrate using their inhalers, valved holding chambers or spacers, or nebulizers with their asthma care provider at each visit and replace these pieces of equipment at least annually.
• If your child has fall allergies, start allergy medication early as a preventative measure, which will make asthma symptoms less likely to occur.
• For a child who is struggling to breathe, the trip from the classroom or playground to the school nurse for medication can be perilously far. Assess whether your child is ready to carry and self-administer their asthma medication.
Gonzales recommends parents of children living with asthma recruit a team – the school nurse, teachers, coaches, babysitters and adults leading after-school activities – to recognize and treat asthma symptoms right when they start.
“It’s important that we work together to continually educate and empower parents on how best to monitor and manage their child’s asthma,” said Linda Trevenen, respiratory drug delivery business leader at Philips. “Properly managing a child’s air quality and environment while following a physician-prescribed treatment plan can truly transform a child’s life, allowing them to perform better in school, build confidence in sports and simply get outside and play.”
Visit www.Lung.org for details.