August 27, 2008

For Kids With Asthma, Make Sure Everyone is Prepared

By >Leo Smith/Staff Writer

This can be a stressful time for children, as they leave summer behind and head back to school. For kids with asthma, the transition can be even more challenging.

According to the American Lung Association, nearly 11 percent of U.S. children starting school in the fall have asthma, a lung condition that accounts for nearly 13 million classroom days missed annually.

The ALA has compiled a checklist to help parents and their children with asthma prepare for the new year. Topping that list is a reminder that the government is phasing out the common CHC (chlorofluorocarbon) inhaler -- a type of albuterol inhaler -- to be replaced by an HFA (hydrofluoroalkane) inhaler, said to be less damaging to the ozone layer.

Other tips from the American Lung Association:

Schedule an asthma checkup with your doctor: Even if your child's asthma is being closely managed, an appointment provides a good opportunity to re-evaluate medicines and any physical restrictions.

Confirm that medicines are up-to-date and fill prescriptions: Make sure your child's prescriptions have refills available and have not expired.

Be aware of financial assistance programs: For help paying for medicines, call the Partnership for Prescription Assistance at (888) 477-2669. For help from the Rx Outreach assistance program, go to

Create an asthma action plan: The plan should include personal information about your child's symptoms, medications and physical limitations, as well as provide instructions about what to do if an asthma attack does not improve after medications are administered.

Visit your child's school: The nurse, teachers, coaches and school office personnel should have copies of the asthma action plan. Make sure they know your child's asthma triggers and typical symptoms.

Advocate for your child: Find out what steps you need to take for the school to allow your child to carry an inhaler if suggested by the doctor. Some schools require a doctor's note.

Know the school's asthma emergency plan: Make sure the school has your emergency contact numbers and that personnel have been trained to handle asthma attacks.

For more information, call (800) 586-4872.

(c) 2008 Daily News; Los Angeles, Calif.. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.