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Asthma Action Plans

Parents of children with asthma have been out of breath recently, asking me what they can do to keep their children healthy, so heres some information that everyone should know about asthma. At least one in every five children in every classroom in Vermont and New York has asthma. It is a disease in which the insides of a persons airways become inflamed, making it difficult to breathe. The inflammation can be due to a number of factors, including exposure to tobacco smoke, cold temperatures, dust, and pet dander. The most important thing to know about children with asthma is that they can lead healthy normal lives, with no limit to physical activity, provided they understand their condition and have a written asthma action plan for home and for school. An asthma action plan is put together by your childs doctor, in conjunction with you and your child. Copies should be kept at home, at school, and at the doctors office. Review it each year with teachers and the school nurse, and make sure to update it as needed with help from your childs doctor. The statewide goal for Vermont is for every child with asthma to have a written asthma action plan. Each plan has three zonesred, yellow, and green. The green zone tells how to manage asthma when your child is feeling good and is symptom-free. The yellow zone tells you what to look for if you child is not feeling well and you think their asthma is getting worse. And a red zone tells you what to do if the asthma is severe. The different colors help make the plan easy to use, by referring you to the appropriate part of the plan based on how your child is feeling. Another way to keep your child healthy is to make sure he or she gets a flu shot every year, and, of course, never allow them to be exposed to second-hand smoke. Your childs doctor has more information on asthma and its management, and you can also call the American Lung Association at 1-800 LUNG-USA. Hopefully tips like this will allow you to breathe easy when it comes to putting together an asthma action plan for your child.

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