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MANAGING ASTHMA IN SCHOOLS Insert presenter Information here

2 What’s the big deal? Asthma…
Is the most common chronic disease of children Effects 1 in 5 children in Ontario Is the leading cause of school absenteeism and emergency room visits Can be life threatening if not properly controlled Is poorly controlled in >60% of cases

3 ASTHMA IS… Inflammation of the airways (extra-sensitive or twitchy airways)
3 changes occur in airways: muscles around airways tighten lining of the airways becomes swollen mucous production increases

Changes in airways can lead to: Coughing Wheezing (not always heard) Chest tightness Shortness of breath

5 ASTHMA TRIGGERS Common triggers include: Colds/Respiratory Viruses
Airways are supersensitive and react to certain “triggers” A trigger is anything that makes asthma worse Triggers are unique to each child with asthma Common triggers include: Colds/Respiratory Viruses Exercise Grass/pollen Cold/Hot Weather Dust & dust mites Furry/feathered pets Smoke Air pollution Strong smells

6 ASTHMA MEDICATIONS Controllers (orange, brown, purple, red)
Long-acting, slow working (days to weeks) Usually taken at home every day to control symptoms Will not help during an acute asthma “attack” Relievers: (usually blue) Fast-acting (within 5-10 minutes) Taken to relieve symptoms during an asthma “attack” Taken before exercise, if needed, to prevent onset of symptoms Need to be accessible at all times


8 1. RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS Coughing (continual) Increased breathing rate
Complaining of chest tightness Increased use of reliever medication Wheezing (not always heard) Increased restlessness and irritability Tiredness

9 2. RESPOND Ensure fast-acting reliever inhaler is given as soon as
possible. (Should improve breathing within minutes) Tell the child to breathe slowly & deeply. (Support privacy if child appears anxious) Stay calm! Remain with & reassure the child.

10 Minor episodes should not affect a child’s involvement in school
3. FOLLOW-UP Minor episodes should not affect a child’s involvement in school When they feel better they can return to normal activities Medication use should be recorded Parent should be notified about the episode Note: If the child requires the inhaler again in less then 4 hours the parent should be notified to seek medical attention

11 SEVERE WARNING SIGNS ANY of the following may be observed:
Lips or fingernails become blue or gray Breathing is difficult and fast (>25/min) Can only say 1-3 words between breaths Breathing will involve the whole ribcage Very agitated OR No improvement within 5-10 minutes after taking reliever inhaler

12 THIS IS AN EMERGENCY Call 911 immediately.
Tell them you have a child who is experiencing SHORTNESS OF BREATH. Give reliever inhaler immediately. Continue to give reliever inhaler every few minutes until help arrives. Never leave a child who is experiencing serious breathing problems alone.

13 Plan ahead…think ASTHMA !
Asthma: Know what it is and who has it. Signs of worsening asthma: Be able to recognize & respond to them. Triggers: Know what they are and how to reduce them. Have a plan to manage asthma episodes. Medications: Ensure easy access to fast-acting reliever. Access resources.

A process to identify students with asthma? A process/protocol which allows students easy access to their (emergency) medication? A school-wide process for handling worsening asthma? A process to identify & reduce triggers? A mechanism to communicate & collaborate with families, and health care professionals?

15 ASTHMA RESOURCES Ontario Lung Association Asthma Action Helpline Asthma Society Creating Asthma Friendly Schools

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