Prepare asthma action plan before children return to school - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Prepare asthma action plan before children return to school

August 8th, 2017 development
Prepare asthma action plan before children return to school

By Angela Zearing, CPNP

Many schools are back in session in Chandler and now’s the time for parents to develop an asthma action plan for their children in the classroom, if they haven’t done so already.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lung’s air passages that can make breathing difficult. For kids with asthma, air flow in and out of the lungs is obstructed by swelling, which thickens the walls of the airway and creates excess mucus. In addition, asthma includes muscle spasms that constrict and tighten the airways, making it harder to move air in and out. Almost 11 percent of Arizona youths ages 17 years old and younger reported having asthma in 2014, according to the American Lung Association in Arizona.

Symptoms of an asthma exacerbation include wheezing (a whistling noise made while breathing), coughing, chest tightness, waking at night with a cough, extra phlegm and mucus. Asthma aggravation can very quickly escalate to a life-threatening situation, so seek emergency medical care if your child is demonstrating any symptoms of respiratory distress.

Asthma flare-ups can be caused by many different triggers. Most commonly, asthma exacerbations can be triggered by common cold symptoms (congestion, runny nose, etc). Allergies, which can range from animal dander, dust mites, indoor mold, and pollens, are another common cause of increased asthma symptoms. If possible, keep pets out of bedrooms and avoid allowing the pet on carpets or cloth-covered furniture in the house. Also, if you can, encase the mattress and pillow in dust-proof covers and wash sheets and blankets weekly in hot water.

It may also be helpful to keep stuffed toys out of the bed or wash them weekly in hot water. Irritants, including tobacco smoke, strong odors and sprays can also trigger asthma so it’s important that kids with asthma avoid any exposure to smoke, including secondhand smoke. For some kids, asthma can be triggered by exercise and physical activity.

Asthma can be treated with different kinds of medications, some short-acting and some long-acting. Management of these medications often requires regular follow-up appointments with a pediatrician to find the best control. It’s also important that schools are aware of a child’s asthma status so they can keep any medications that may be required in the case of a flare-up. An asthma action plan that clearly explains which medications to use and when to give them is very helpful at home and at school. If you suspect that your child is suffering from asthma, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician for further evaluation.

Angela Zearing is a certified pediatric

nurse practitioner and lactation consultant with Pendleton Pediatrics. Pendleton Pediatrics is located at 1445 W. Chandler Boulevard, Building B, in Chandler. The practice is centered on excellence, innovation and individualized care, with a focus on preventive well care and prompt treatment of illness. For more information, call 480-385-5055 or visit