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Understanding Asthma

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Welcome, parents! In this teaching, we'll explore the world of asthma. Understanding asthma is crucial in helping your child lead a healthy and active life. We will talk about the basics of asthma, its triggers, symptoms, and most importantly, how to support your child in managing this condition.

Assess barriers by asking if they speak and understand English. Access their knowledge of their child’s condition and clarify any misconceptions. Financial status (do they think they need assistance in getting their medications?

According to the basic immunology of asthma, an article by Hammad and Lambrecht (2021), “The main feature of asthma is airway obstruction, which is caused by a reduction in the diameter of the airways” (p.1470). In children with asthma, these airways are sensitive and tend to react strongly to triggers that are harmless to most people. This reaction can cause difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing, and a feeling of tightness in the chest. Recognizing these symptoms includes understanding when your child feels breathless and teaching them to use their inhaler correctly can be lifesaving. Also, knowing the difference between a regular cough and an asthma-related cough can help you identify potential asthma episodes. A regular cough might occur due to a common cold, flu, or respiratory infection. It is temporary and often resolves as the underlying illness goes away. The sound of a regular cough can vary but typically does not include a high-pitched wheezing sound when breathing out. Whereas an asthma-related cough is often persistent and can be chronic. It might occur during the day or night and can last for several weeks or months. The cough might be accompanied by a high-pitched whistling sound called wheezing, especially when breathing out. Wheezing is a common symptom of asthma indicating narrowed airways.

Furthermore, dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and mold are common triggers and should be avoided to reduce the frequency of asthma attacks. Secondhand smoke and air pollutants can aggravate asthma. Maintaining a smoke-free environment is essential. Cold and flu viruses can worsen asthma symptoms; thus, good hygiene practices can help prevent such respiratory infections. Encouraging regular exercise while understanding your child's limits can strengthen their lungs and improve overall health. Inhalers and nebulizers are common tools used to manage asthma symptoms. I will encourage you to schedule regular visits to the healthcare provider to create an asthma action plan that will help you respond quickly and effectively during an asthma attack. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Asthma Action Plans”, (2023, para. 1) states that everyone with asthma needs their own Asthma Action Plan. This plan includes personalized instructions on how to monitor and manage asthma on a day-to-day basis, as well as what to do during worsening symptoms or asthma attacks. Examples are medication adherence, triggers, how and when to use the peak flow monitor, and the ranges. A study conducted by Feldman and colleagues (2012) supported that “children who received PEF assessment as part of asthma self-management had better adherence to prescribed asthma control medications and decreased hospitalizations” (as cited in Harvey et al., 2018, p. 165). Get help right away if the peak flow reading is less than 50% of your personal best. This is in the red zone and indicates "danger.” Eating a balanced diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep also strengthens the child's immune system. Stay up to date on all their vaccines, such as flu and pneumonia vaccines.

In addition, provide emotional support by encouraging your child to express their feelings about asthma. Listen actively and address their concerns. By understanding asthma, recognizing its signs, managing triggers, and providing emotional support, you can empower your child to live a healthy, active life. Remember, you are not alone—reach out to healthcare professionals, support groups, and other parents with asthma management experience. Together, we can help our children breathe easy and enjoy life to the fullest!

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, June 23). Asthma action plans.

Asthma. https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/actionplan.html

Harvey, M., Lennen, N., & Whitted, K. (2018). Evidence-Based Asthma Control Assessments in

Pediatric Care. Pediatric Nursing, 44(4), 163–168. https://search-ebscohost-com.resu.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ccm&AN=131366564&site=ehost-live.

Hammand, H., & Lambrecht, B. N. (2021). The basic immunology of Asthma.

The pathophysiology of Asthma. Cell 184, 1469–1485. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2021.04.019