asthma action plan Archives - Active Healthcare

Back to School Tips for Kids with Asthma

Lisa Feierstein Asthma, Breathe EZ, Children's Health Leave a comment   , , ,

back to school 2It’s that time of year again. A fun summer has come and gone and it’s time to start thinking about back to school. While stocking up on school supplies, don’t forget to prepare your child’s asthma plan for the new school year.

The American Lung Association has published a “Back to School with Asthma Checklist” for a smooth adjustment back to school for children with asthma. With careful preparation, your child can focus on enjoying their school days without worrying about their asthma.

Here are some tips for making this school year a good one:

1. Schedule a checkup before school starts

Summer is the perfect time to fit in a doctor’s appointment, since your child’s schedule may be less busy. Be sure to bring any forms required by your child’s school so that you can be prepared for meeting with the school nurse (See Tip #2 below).

Discuss how your child’s asthma treatment plan has been working in the past year. In particular, make sure your child knows how to use their inhaler and spacer properly.

Review your child’s asthma triggers, and make a plan to help your child avoid exposure at school. A summer checkup is a great time to discuss any troubles with allergies, which are common in children with asthma.

2. Get the school nurse on board

If your child is starting a new school, or has a recent asthma diagnosis, make sure that the school nurse is part of your child’s asthma team. First, make sure all necessary forms documenting your children’s medication are submitted timely so they can be processed before school starts.

With the help of your child’s doctor, write an Asthma Action Plan and share it with the school nurse. If your child’s school does not have a full time nurse, include the receptionist or other staff members in the Asthma Action Plan as well.

3. Don’t forget after school activities

If your child participates in an after-school activity, make sure your child’s coach or activity leader has access to your child’s Asthma Action Plan. It’s very important that those supervising your child know what an asthma emergency looks like and how best to help your child.

Make back to school easy with these tips

After a fun summer, transitioning back to school can be hard for many kids. If your child has asthma, keeping these tips in mind can make it easier.

Additional Resources

Back to School with Asthma Checklist – American Lung Association
Does Back to School Mean Back to Allergies?


New OTC Primatene Mist Approved By FDA

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment   , , , ,

Should you consider using it as part of your Asthma Treatment Plan?

Primatene Mist ® was removed from the market back in 2011 due to the propellant used in the inhaler medication. Late last year the FDA approved a new over-the-counter version of the drug, which is now widely available. This new version uses the same active ingredient but does not contain CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) which are known to deplete ozone in our atmosphere.

Asthma Experts Urge Caution

A number of asthma organizations have voiced strong concerns over the new Primatene Mist inhaler since it creates the impression that the management and treatment of asthma is a do-it-yourself proposition. Asthma is a chronic condition that requires ongoing management with your healthcare provider – whether it is mild, moderate or severe.

As a chilling reminder: 10 people die every day from asthma related complications

The active ingredient in Primatene mist is racemic epinephrine. This medication is not a recommended asthma treatment and can also give a false sense of control by masking asthma symptoms.

Lack of control and the often associated over use of quick-relief medications leads to respiratory complications and sometimes death in people with asthma. Experts worry that this new over-the-counter medication option will only escalate that scenario. Out of control symptoms followed by over use of a medication that masks symptoms can in turn lead to life-threatening complications.

FDA Approval and Recommendations

Asthma Rescue InhalerFDA officials approved the new medication in hopes of providing another cost effective treatment option, especially to patients with mild asthma. The active ingredient in the medication is the same, just a new propellant to allow it to be administered via a metered dose inhaler and with new administration instructions.

The FDA has only approved the medication in patients over 12 years of age. They caution that the medication should only be used by those already diagnosed with asthma, and not to treat symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath that may be related to other conditions.

The Manufacturer Weighs In

Amphastar, the manufacturer of Primatene Mist, indicates the over-the-counter medication is to be used for “temporary relief of mild symptoms of intermittent asthma” on their product website.

A Plan for Asthma Control

Remember to always check with your healthcare provider before making a change to your or your child’s asthma treatment regime and asthma action plan. Check out these additional resources for more information about this new medication, tools to navigate treatment options and a refresher on understanding asthma control.

Additional Resources

FDA – Safely Using the Newly Available OTC Asthma Inhaler Primatene Mist

Shared Decision Making Tool developed by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), and the Allergy and Asthma Network

Asthma Statistics and Understanding Asthma control


CDC Reports Drop in US Asthma Rates

Lisa Feierstein Asthma, Breathe EZ, Children's Health Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , ,

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released data on the state of childhood asthma in their CDC Vital Signs: Asthma in Children – United States report. The news is good – there has been a drop in asthma rates. The number of children that experienced an asthma attack in the past year has declined with the overall rate dropping 8 % since 2001. Asthma is a prevalent chronic lung disease effecting 6 million children in the United States.

While this is good news in terms of quantity of attacks, the data did reveal that despite fewer attacks one in 6 with asthma still end up in the emergency room and one in 20 are hospitalized for their condition each year.

Other Findings in the Report on Asthma Rates:

  • The rate of hospitalizations for children with asthma fell from 10 percent in 2003 to about 5 percent in 2013.
  • Children with asthma are missing less school – on average 2.6 days per child in 2013.
  • More kids with asthma are learning the signs and symptoms of an asthma attack and how using an asthma action plan can improve their control.

Green, Yellow or Red: What is Asthma Control?

Traffic LightWell controlled asthma means that your child is in the GREEN zone of the asthma action plan. Good control implies that your child’s symptoms such as coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath occur only two or fewer days per week.

Other indications of well controlled asthma include restful sleep where symptoms don’t wake your child at night. Asthma should also not affect any of your child’s daily activities. Lastly, your child shouldn’t need to use their quick-relief inhaler very often, no more than two days per week.

Knowing your child’s best rate of air flow, as measured by a peak flow meter, is another tool to monitor their asthma control. Air flow measurements that drop below 80 % of their personal best levels may indicate it is time for medication.

Is your Asthma Action Plan Up to Date?

Every child with asthma needs their own customized asthma action plan. Your healthcare provider or asthma educator can help you create one – or help you update an existing plan.

Key Asthma Action Plan Details

  • What medicines to take and under what circumstances
  • List of asthma triggers
  • What early symptoms to watch out for
  • Instructions on how to manage a serious attack and when to seek emergency care
  • ‘Personal Best’ air flow as measured by a peak flow meter for comparison

Additional Resources

CDC Vital Signs: Asthma in Children – United States

Community Care of North Carolina: How to Create an Asthma Action Plan

FAQ: Are You Asthma Aware?


5 Keys to a Fun and Safe Summer Camp Experience for Kids with Asthma and Allergies

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma, Breathe EZ, Children's Health Leave a comment   , , , , , ,

Summer may seem years away when you are wearing a scarf and lots of layers on a cold winter’s day. It will be here before you know it. What is your favorite memory of summer camp? Do you have happy memories of canoeing, campfires or maybe even sleeping under the stars? Summer camp is a time for all children to spend time on their own, make new friends and try out new activities.

As a parent of a child with asthma you already have many ongoing concerns about their daily environment and its impact on their lung health. Your apprehension is normal. As we have discussed in other asthma related posts, advance preparation is always the best strategy when choosing any activity for your child with asthma.

Summer Camp Fun

  • Consider both Traditional and Asthma-focused Camps

    An asthma-focused camp may include educational components and have specially trained staff. Traditional camps can be okay too, especially if they are willing to make accommodations for your child’s asthma.

  • Not All Camps are Created Equal

    Remember that some camps may be more asthma friendly than others. Consider your child’s specific triggers and allergens. Those who are very allergic to animals might be better off at a nature camp vs one centered on horseback riding. Those with high mold sensitivities might be better off at a camp with air conditioned cabins.

  • Review Camp Medication Administration Guidelines

    Check in with camp staff in advance to find out how medication is administered. Research how they manage daily, rescue and emergency medications. Ask your questions before camp begins. Find out which medications your child can keep with them and self-administer. Ask if they can keep rescue inhalers and epi pens with them at all times.

  • Food Concerns – From Campfire Treats to Dining Hall Delicacies

    Don’t forget about food allergies. Check out the meal and snack offerings. If your child can’t enjoy typical camp treats due to allergies see if you can send along some substitutes in advance so your child won’t feel left out.

  • Before, During and After

    Work with your child’s healthcare provider or asthma specialist to create a before, during and after plan for camp.

    Before: Are all of their medications up to date, including dosage changes related to your child’s growth since last summer.

    During: Update or create an asthma action plan to include situations that might arise at camp if your child is exposed to a trigger or allergen – whether known or new.

    After: At the conclusion of camp check in with the staff to ask how things went. This will help you plan for future camps. Don’t just ask about your child’s asthma. Ask your child about their favorite (and not so favorite) parts of their time at camp.


Camp Victory Junction

Children with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, and others with serious illnesses that would preclude them from attending a traditional summer camp program should look into the options at Camp Victory Junction.

This summer, children ages 6 to 16, with asthma can register for Camp Victory Junction in Randleman, NC. The week of July 15-19 is designated especially for kids with heart, lung, kidney, and immunological diseases. Camp Victory Junction provides a typical camp experience within a medically-safe environment.

Additional Resources

Traveling with Asthma

The Sunshine Vitamin

Children’s Asthma Camps – Find a Camp (Nationwide search)

Participating organizations include: American Lung Association, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, American Academy of Pediatrics, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and the American Thoracic Society.

About Camp Victory Junction

Victory Junction enriches the lives of children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses by providing life-changing camp experiences that are exciting, fun and empowering; all in a medically-safe environment at no cost to the camper or their family.

Located in the hills of Randleman, North Carolina, Victory Junction is spread across 84 acres, allowing children to do what they do best— be kids, play, imagine, make friends and enjoy the adventures and experiences of camp life.


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