Asthma Action Plans and the Kiddos
Asthma action plans are an integral part of managing asthma. It is important for any and all asthmatics to have one, regardless of their age and/or asthma severity. Children are no exception.
What is an asthma action plan?
An asthma action plan is a plan that your doctor can give you and it shows your medications when to take them, what to do when your asthma starts acting up, and when to seek medical advice/help. With children, depending on their age, as a parent/guardian you will know what to watch out for as far as asthma symptoms in your child and when to call their doctor. Show your child (if age appropriate) their asthma action plan. Get them involved and active in their asthma care. Teaching and empowering children to be aware of their disease and know what steps to take is so important. Take time to teach them the difference between their rescue and maintenance medications. When I was on the medical staff for a summer camp for children with asthma for 10 years, (as well as attending the same camp as a child) we would have the kids label their rescue and maintenance inhalers with different colored stickers to tell them apart until they learned the difference completely. Encourage them to remember to take their medications as prescribed and cheer and applaud when they do!
Back to school & asthma
It’s back to school time and for children with asthma, it can be difficult to manage while in the classroom. As a parent or guardian, take some time to go to your child's school and talk with the office and school nurse about your child's asthma. The phrase “, not all asthma is created equally” definitely also applies to children. Tell them specifically about your child’s triggers, and how is best to manage them. Especially if your child is sensitive to certain scents or cleaning products that might be used in the classroom. Give the school a copy of his or her action plan and don't forget about their teachers as well. The more people who are involved and know what to look out for the better. Also be sure to check with your school and or district as to their inhaler policy. Some schools will allow kids to carry their rescue inhaler with them (or in their backpack) while others don't allow it and all medications are to be kept only in the nurse’s office. If your child has any restrictions when it comes to physical activity it would be a good idea to get a note from his or her doctor stating the limitations and give a copy to the school.
Action Plans will change over time
As your child grows, their asthma action plan will also evolve. Medications might be changed (either added or stopped) for better asthma control, and it isn't uncommon for triggers to also change over time as children continue to grow. If your child has recently been diagnosed with asthma or has had asthma for a while and you don't have an action plan or him/her definitely make an appointment with their doctor to discuss putting one together. If your child is old enough, encourage their participation with their doctor to put one together.
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