In recognition of Asthma Awareness Month, this entry is brought to you by Patricia Lelas-Sullivan RN,BSN,AE-C Public Health Nurse for Naugatuck Valley Health District, Seymour, CT.
Patricia shares some facts about asthma as well as some useful links for more information on treatment and how to "asthma-proof" your home.
Asthma is a serious chronic (can not be cured) respiratory (affects the lungs) disease.
People with asthma have sensitive airways that may react to things (triggers) like tobacco smoke, dust, pollen, pet dander (especially cats), chemicals, pests (cockroaches, mice, etc.).
Some people might react to one or all of the asthma triggers depending on their body.
When a person is exposed to an asthma trigger, the sensitive airways become swollen and inflamed. Thick mucus is produced and starts to line the airways. The muscles around the airways tighten causing the airways to narrow and blocking the flow of air.
When this happens people may experience coughing, wheezing-(whistling sound when breathing), and tightening of the chest making it hard to breathe.
Parents of children with asthma need to know that asthma lasts a lifetime and can not be cured but it can be controlled. Most children can and should be able to live a full active life. If a child’s asthma is not in good control, symptoms can cause parents and care givers to miss days from work, while children miss school and may require urgent visits to the pediatrician, hospital emergency room or hospital admission, and in some cases, lead to more serious consequences. Rarely, people have died as the result of a severe asthma attack.
Children diagnosed with asthma should have an Asthma Action Plan. This is a written plan informing caretakers how to manage asthma in relation to the child’s symptoms. The plan should be shared with the school nurse, daycare provider, and any other people that care for the child.
It is really simple to control your child’s asthma:
- Talk with your doctor about your child’s asthma and get a referral to a specialist;
- Create an Asthma Action Plan with your child’s doctor/specialist;
- “Asthma-proof” your home by reducing or eliminating the triggers as much as possible.
The combination of medical management and environment control can make a big difference in your child’s asthma control.
For more information about asthma management visit:
www.epa.gov/asthma/about.html , www.aap.org , www.lungusa.org , www.cdc.gov
Download an Asthma Action plan to bring to your child’s doctor to complete: