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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Back to school time!!

(Shutterstock image)

I can't believe summer is coming to and end! We still have a few weeks until daughter Kitty starts school, but we are already planning ahead for her asthma.

School Nurse sent an Asthma Action Plan this summer. What is an Asthma Action Plan? The Centers for Disease Control,  CDC  explains it this way:

What is an asthma action plan?

The action plan is based on zones of asthma care defined by your peak expiratory flow (PEF) rate and symptoms. A PEF is a way to measure how much air you can blow out of your lungs in one second. Measuring your own PEF every day will help you track how well you are doing. Green Zone 
Green means go. You are in the green zone of the asthma action plan if your peak expiratory flow rate is 80% to 100% of your personal best measurement. You want to be in the green zone every day. You should have no asthma symptoms when you are in the green zone.
Yellow Zone
 Yellow means caution. You are in the yellow zone of the asthma action plan if your peak expiratory flow rate is 50% to 80% of your personal best measurement. Symptoms may not exist, may be mild to moderate, or may keep you from your usual activities or disturb your sleep. The yellow zone may mean that you are having an asthma episode or that your medicines need to be increased. The action plan should state what medications you need to take, how much to take, and when to take them. If you keep going into the yellow zone from the green zone, talk with your provider. Your regular medication may need to be changed.
Red Zone
Red means STOP. You are in the red zone of your asthma action plan if your peak expiratory flow rate is less than 50% of your personal best measurement. Your symptoms will be severe and you may have extreme shortness of breath and coughing or other symptoms that are specific only to you. If your symptoms and peak expiratory flow rate are in the red zone, seek medical help immediately. While you are seeking emergency help, follow your action plan and take your medications as directed. You may need emergency treatment, admission to a hospital, or to call 911.

There are a LOT of different types of Asthma Action Plans. Some schools like to use a certain version of the form, some doctor's offices have another form they like to use.

I just fill out whatever School Nurse sends me. In our case, it's an Asthma Action Plan from our state health department. Since daughter Kitty has to go to Asthma Doc every year to get a renewal on her asthma and allergy medicines, it's the perfect time for us to take the Asthma Action Plan and have him fill it out. (Believe me - she doesn't just go to Asthma Doc once a year - it seems like it's every other month.)

 Our Asthma Action Plan is a combination form - it also has a section where the doctor and I give permission for daughter Kitty to carry her inhaler with her at all times during school.

Did you know that it is legal in EVERY state in the country for students to carry their inhaler with them? However, you usually have to fill out a permission form at the beginning of every school year.

For us, it's not a problem - I just add it to the stack of all of the other forms I have to fill out!

So, while you are out shopping for school supplies to get ready for school - remember to also get ready by having an Asthma Action Plan on file at school. That way the teachers/lunch staff/recess guards will know what to do if your child has an asthma attack during school.   

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