Posts belonging to Category National Asthma Education and Prevention Program



Allergy Triggers, What You Need to Know

allergyThe American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology,ACAAI, reported, in a July press release, that common allergy triggers in classrooms and playgrounds spur 14 million school absences a year in U.S.

“Children with allergies and asthma should be able to feel good, be active and not miss any classes or activities this school year due to their condition,” allergist Dr. James Sublett, chair of the ACAAI Public Relations Committee, said in a college news release. “Helping  children understand what triggers their allergy symptoms can keep them focused on their studies and not their allergies.”

The ACAAI advises that there are ways children can stay away from allergy triggers so they can feel their best, including:

  • Avoid chalk dust. Children with asthma or allergies should wash their hands after handling chalk and not sit too close to the chalkboard.
  • Steer clear of bees and wasps. Children should not disturb bees or other insects when they are outside. They should also avoid wearing brightly colored clothing on the playground. Parents of children with insect allergies should consider talking to an allergist about venom immunotherapy, which can be 97 percent effective in preventing future reactions to insect bites.
  • Pack lunch. Children with food allergies should bring their lunch to school and avoid sharing food, napkins or utensils with their friends. Teachers, coaches and the school nurse should also be informed about students’ food allergies. In extreme cases, food allergies can cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction. Parents could also suggest that school adopt an allergen-free snack policy.
  • Be aware of breathing troubles after physical activity. Children who experience trouble breathing during or after gym class, recess or other physical activities at school could have exercise-induced broncho-constriction or asthma. These children need to be seen by an allergist who can diagnose and treat their conditions.
  • Don’t cuddle classroom pets. Children with allergies should avoid pets with fur and not be seated next to children who have furry pets at home. Parents can also request that teachers choose a hairless classroom pet, such as a fish or a frog.

Experts recommended that parents of children with allergy symptoms or asthma make an appointment with a board-certified allergist to develop a treatment plan.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about students’ health in school.

(SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release, July 19, 2012)

What Do You Know About Asthma?

asthmaMay is Asthma Awareness Month. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebeliusa issued a statement asking us to consider what we can do better, as individuals and as a nation, in managing one of the most common lifelong chronic diseases.

In her statement she reports:

  • More than 25 million Americans have asthma, including 7 million children.
  •  Children with asthma missed more than 10 million days total of school in 2008.
  • Medical expenses associated with asthma are estimated at $50 billion annually.
  • It is critical to take the necessary steps to reduce asthma attacks.
  • Successful asthma management includes: knowing the warning signs of an attack, avoiding things that may trigger an episode and following the advice of your health care provider.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is working to raise awareness about asthma and to provide tools to help families and communities get the information they need:

  • Having access to high-quality affordable health care is a must for asthma suffers.
  • As a result of the Affordable Care Act, the 7 million children who have asthma cannot be denied health coverage now by insurance companies on the basis of a pre-existing condition. In 2014, that fundamental protection will be afforded to adults with asthma as well.
  • We know that African-American children visit emergency departments for asthma care more often than Caucasian children, and that Latino children are less likely to see a doctor for routine office visits than non-Latino Caucasian children. While we’ve made progress in reducing disparities over the years, more needs to be done. That is why the health care law and Recovery Act investments are expanding the capacity of community health centers to care for the most vulnerable Americans regardless of their ability to pay.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with communities and schools to develop the tools they need to make their environments healthier for children with asthma.  Three Louisiana school districts, for example, have adopted indoor and outdoor air policies, such as requiring school buses to turn off their engines while idling. Rhode Island families have gotten help in learning how to manage their children’s asthma from the new Home Asthma Response Program, which identified potential participants during asthma-related emergency room visits.
  • The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program–coordinated by the National Institutes of Health–promotes improved asthma care and control through a focused outreach effort centered on written asthma action plans.  These plans are a recommended but underutilized tool for managing asthma long-term and handling symptoms. These efforts include coordination with other federal agencies and key stakeholders and activities to promote resources and educational materials.

Secretary Sebeliusa concludes her statement by asking that we all learn what each of us and our communities can do to reduce the physical, social, and financial costs of asthma.

For more information, see http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/ and http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/naepp.