Asthma- Childcare Toolbox
Asthma Action Plans - English
Asthma Action Plans- Spanish
Asthma 101 for the Childcare Setting Program
Asthma Episode: Signs & Symptoms
Asthma Emergency: Signs & Symptoms
Steps to Follow for an Asthma Episode in the School Setting Poster
How to use an Asthma Metered Dose Inhaler
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Asthma is the leading chronic illness among children today, currently affecting 1 in 4 children. It is a disease in which the airways of the lungs constrict because of irritation or inflammation. Mucus obstructs the tubes, thus making it difficult to breathe. Asthma cannot be cured; however it can be controlled with proper diagnosis and management. When asthma is controlled, the child will be able to participate in daily activities without having symptoms, and should not miss out on the benefits of participating in any physical activity or sport.
Asthma Action Plan
The child’s health care provider should complete an asthma action plan for a child with asthma. An asthma action plan lists medicines the child uses, asthma triggers, and steps to follow if the child has an asthma emergency. Since every child’s asthma is different, it is important to know the asthma triggers and medicine plan of each individual child.
Early recognition of an asthma episode allows for prompt treatment to prevent an asthma emergency. Symptoms can vary greatly and may include:
• shortness of breath
• wheezing (a high-pitched whistling sound)
• tightness of the chest or throat
• coughing at night or after physical activity
• a cough that lasts more than a week.
On occasion, children can experience severe breathing difficulty. This is an ASTHMA EMERGENCY and can be fatal if not treated. Symptoms and signs of an asthma emergency include:
• breathing with chest or neck pulled in
• nostrils opens wide when inhaling
• difficulty walking and talking
• infants may stop suckling/feeding and their cry may become softer and shorter
• increased respiratory rate
• nailbeds and lips may turn blue
• Poster (steps to follow for an asthma episode in the child care setting)
Every effort must be made to reduce the likelihood of an asthma emergency in a child care setting and to ensure prompt emergency treatment. Parents, child care staff and health care providers must share this responsibility. An important preventative measure is to minimize a child’s exposure to environmental and social/recreational activities that may trigger asthma symptoms.
Triggersthat can make asthma worse
• allergens: pets (cats, dogs, birds), house dust mites, cockroaches, pollen, molds
• irritants: cigarette or wood smoke, scented products, strong odors, air pollution
• respiratory tract infections
• changes in weather and temperature
Since asthma affects each child differently, the amount and frequency of medication will depend on each child’s asthma. Good communication with parents is needed to ensure that the provider’s orders are followed correctly.
“Reliever/rescue medicines” open the airway by relaxing the muscles around the airways. They are used for quick relief as needed to treat asthma episodes and should be taken when symptoms are first noticed. They can also be used before exercise to prevent exercise-induced symptoms.
“Controller medicines” prevent asthma symptoms by decreasing inflammation in the airways. They are used for long-term control and should be taken on a regular basis (often every day) when asthma symptoms occur more than twice a week.