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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

School supplies and asthma


Mmmmhhhhmm, it's that time of year again. 

The stores are full of notebooks, pencils and cool stuff for lockers. I feel like telling my daughter, "When I was your age....I was lucky I even HAD a locker -  and we didn't have stuff to decorate it!" Yep, I'm getting old.

I should probably take daughter Kitty to the store to get school supplies - since school starts next week. I'm a little slow.....

But besides school supplies, there is something else you need for school when you have asthma.


You can look of the laws of some of the states on the CDC's Public Health Law website.

You also have to have your doc fill an asthma action plan and permission form EVERY school year. There are different forms for each state. Here's one I found from American Lung Association 



 My school nurse always sends out an Asthma Action Plan and permission form every summer. That gives us time to see Asthma Doc so Kitty can have her annual asthma exam and Asthma Doc can fill out her paperwork for school.

Is your child ready to carry their inhaler in school and do they know when and how to use it? American Lung Association has a "Student Readiness Assessment Tool" that can help you decide. It's 15 questions in 4 areas that can help you find out what your child knows about asthma and if they know when to use their inhaler.
 
Don't forget to include the teacher in their asthma plans. At back to school night, I meet with all of Kitty's teacher and let them know that she has allergies and asthma, carries her inhaler (legally), and may need to use it during class. 
 
But, since it's embarrassing for Kitty to use it during class, we come up with a "sign" she can use with her teachers to let them know that she wants to leave the classroom and use her inhaler. (Personally, I don't care if anyone sees me use my inhaler. And as a Certified Asthma Educator, I want people to know how to use it correctly.)
 
So, what kind of sign does she use? Whatever the teacher wants - Kitty will catch the teacher's eye and twirl her car keys and nod. Or she may tug on her ear lobe repeatedly while looking at the teacher. Whatever she wants and whatever will be a silent clue to the teacher.
 
So, as you are getting school supplies and clothes, make sure you are ready for any asthma emergency by getting an Asthma Action Plan filled out and signed. 
 
You never know when you might need one.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Air quality so thick you can cut it with a knife!


If there's one thing that really bothers my asthma - it's poor air quality.

One of my family members who lives on the west coast called to say that he was so sick that he couldn't make it into work. He was really having a hard time breathing. He was staying inside with the doors and windows closed.

Of course, I had to nag him and ask if he had used his Albuterol inhaler?! 

You can see from the map above that the west coast is being affected by a British Columbia forest fire. 


".....asthma specialist Dr. Matthew Altman, an assistant professor at the University of Washington’s Department of Medicine, says he’s been hearing from some of his 100 patients.
'They’re reporting an aggravation of symptoms, shortness of breath, cough,' he says."

The same article also quotes a Colorado State University study about air quality and smoke from the Seattle area wildfires in 2012. The study showed a 35% increase in hospitalizations.

Yikes!

I hope that doesn't happen this time, but it wouldn't surprise me. Son #2 and daughter Kitty both ended up in the hospital when they were young because of poor air quality.

So, what is the air quality like in your area of the U.S? You can check it on the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) website for air quality. The website is called Air Now. Just click on your state at the top of the page where it says "Local Air Quality Conditions", or input your zip code.

Many TV stations will also include the air quality during the weather forecast.

It can help to check air quality when you have asthma. You can decide when to avoid exercising or spending too much time outdoors. Instead of biking outside or going for a walk, we go to our city recreation center and walk on the indoor track.

The indoor track isn't as pretty as being outside, but my lungs like it a LOT better.

Our lungs can be a little cranky when it comes to breathing in bad air

And really, can you blame them?!