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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Help for kids in school

(Shutterstock image)

Like most parents, I always worried when my kids went back to school. Not just about basic things, like will they make friends? What if they get bullied? Will they actually EAT school lunch? 

I also worried about their asthma. Are there any asthma triggers in the classroom? (I think most schools are past the era of having a classroom pet...) Will they know when they are having problems with their asthma? Will they remember how to use their inhaler? Will they actually use it? Or will I just get a phone call from the school to come get my child?

American Lung Association has a program for students, called Open Airways.

It's a free 6 week program that teaches elementary kids (ages 8-11) how to manage their asthma. It's not a lecture type class, it has some fun, interactive projects. During one class, we took a paper towel roll and filled it up with marshmallows to show the kids what happens to their bronchial tubes when they have asthma. (We were trying to explain how phlegm can plug up the bronchial tube - making it hard to breathe.)

Each state chapter of the American Lung Association offers the program. If you want it taught in your school, contact your local chapter. If they don't have anyone that can teach it at your child's school, you can be trained to become an instructor.

I taught it in when my daughter was in elementary school. She was at the age where she was still willing to be seen with me in public! I tried not to do anything to embarrass her during class - like admit that I knew her. 

Years later, I had a teenager come up to me at a city park and say, "Remember me? You taught me in the asthma class. And I learned how to use my inhaler with a spacer. It's so much easier now, Thanks!"

Wow! What nice feedback! 

Check with your state American Lung Association and see if you can get the program into your child's school. If your kids are in the class while you are teaching it, just pretend like you don't know them! That way you won't do anything to embarrass your kids. Like trying to talk to them.


  1. I'm now in Bosnia&Herzegovina - there sick children don't have any problems. The same is in Serbia - as I wrote, unofficially circa 20-25% Serbs have asthma. Nobody know, why so many of them have this disease - probably because of genetic mix in this region of Europe. Last time big problem in Bosnia are rests from last flood, which affected this country in May.
    Greetings from Balkans :)

    1. Wow! Those are crazy numbers, too bad so many people have to suffer with asthma.

      I wonder if there is a genetic trait there? In our family, asthma runs on both sides of the family (mine and my husbands.)

      So, our kids didn't have a chance of NOT inheriting it.

      I hope you take care of yourself!